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Mario Pino named winner of George Woolf Award
By Jay Privman
Maryland-based jockey Mario Pino, the 10th-winningest rider in North American history with 6,484 victories, on Friday was named as the 64th winner of the George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, it was announced by Santa Anita.
Though Santa Anita has been the home of the Woolf Award since its inception, the winner is voted on by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, recognizing outstanding achievement both on and off the track.
Ramon Dominguez was last year’s winner.
The other finalists this year were Javier Castellano, Perry Compton, David Flores, and Rodney Prescott.
According to Santa Anita officials, Pino will receive the award at Santa Anita at a date to be determined in March.
Pino, 51, has spent most of his career on the Maryland circuit, though he did receive national attention in 2007 when he rode Hard Spun to a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Pino and Hard Spun also finished third in that year’s Preakness and second in that year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Pino’s biggest win aboard Hard Spun came in the 2007 King’s Bishop Stakes at Saratoga.
He won seven races in a single day at Virginia’s Colonial Downs in 2002.
Pino won his first race at Maryland’s now-defunct Bowie Race Course in 1979. He continues to ride regularly in Maryland and at Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania.
Pino won at least 141 races per year every year from 1979 to 2007, and has won more than 200 races in a single year 11 times. Pino’s best year was in 2001, when he won 297 races to rank eighth nationally.
Off the track, Pino devotes much of his time to coaching youth sports.
Pino and his wife, Christina, live in Maryland. They have three daughters.
Woolf, nicknamed “the Iceman,” died as the result of an accident at Santa Anita in January 1946. He is best known for riding Seabiscuit to a victory over War Admiral in their celebrated match race at Pimlico in 1938. At Santa Anita, Woolf won the inaugural Santa Anita Handicap aboard Azucar in 1935. He was inducted posthumously into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in its inaugural class in 1955.
Mario Pino is one of the best jockey on the lead, when he goes to the front,always has something left for the finish. He rode lots of winners for me back in the 80' and 90's and whenever he put the horse on the lead I always felt confident that he knows what he was doing. A well deserved award for a great,professional jockey.Congratulations my friend !
mario we love u!!!!!!!!!!!
Congrats Mario...you were always and are a gentlemen and nice guy!
Mario Pino is a great jockey. Too bad he rode Hard Spun instead of Curlin. It sucks he was criticized for the early move in the Preakness and subsequently taken off that horse for the Belmont. Calvin Borel was also criticized for moving too early in the Preakness. Let's face it, Curlin was simply better, and would've left the best of 'em second guessing. Anyway I'd love to see Mario get another shot on another triple crown contender. If he's got the best horse, nobody's beating him.
Congratulations, Mario... Awesome rider, great guy, way to go!
Congrats Mario ~!!!!...Loved you on my old buddy Hard Spun....Will never forget the good luck signs in your yard in 07 when you two were on the Derby Trail. Awesome achievement for you..Again Congrats !!!
Congrats from a fellow Marylander.
Pino is a great family man who had the talent to do greater things,,,but he traded in the bright lights of New York and Califoria for a normal life with his family in Columbia Maryland.
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