Pino closing in on 3,000 wins

March 12, 1994|By Ross Peddicord | Ross Peddicord,Sun Staff Writer

Mario Pino was at home with his year-old daughter last night, thinking maybe he should get to bed early.

The 32-year-old jockey has an intense schedule today at Laurel Race Course: At 7 a.m. he'll work a pair of horses for trainers Paul Seefeldt and Katy Voss; at 11 a.m., he'll speak to fans at a handicapping seminar; then he'll ride in 10 straight races.

At the end of the card, Pino could reach an important milestone.

He is just two wins shy of 3,000 career victories and thinks he can get the job done today.

According to Daily Racing Form statistics, fewer than 70 jockeys have ever won 3,000 races. The leader is retired legend Willie Shoemaker, who won 8,833 winners from over 40,000 mounts. In Maryland, such veterans as Phil Grove, Rick Wilson and Herb Hinojosa, all still active, have achieved a goal of riding more than 3,000 winners as well as such retired jockeys as Leroy Moyers, Vince Bracciale Jr., Bill Passmore and Jesse Davidson. It's a pretty select group, Pino said, "and one I didn't think I'd join this young."

Pino has ridden in more than 20,000 races in his 15-year career, practically all in Maryland.

"I tried New York once, but I didn't like it and gave it up after a month," he said. "I feel comfortable in Maryland. I ride for a lot of good people and have good rapport with them. And I get to the track with the same kind of enthusiasm I had when I started. I'd like to ride for a dozen more years."

He had eight mounts lined up today, then picked up two more, including a filly named Simoon in the featured $50,000 Politely Stakes.

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"I have a couple of good shots to win, but I'm not going

to put added pressure on myself by saying I've got to get it done today," Pino said. "I have six mounts lined up [for tomorrow]. So out of 16 rides this weekend, the odds are good that two of them will win."

Laurel management is planning a ceremony when he reaches the 3,000 mark, including rolling out a banner and presenting Pino with a gold watch.

He is known for his soft approach on horses and doesn't manhandle them.

"I've been getting a lot of congratulations from the other riders already," Pino said. "They are kind of surprised I've ridden this many winners. I guess you'd say I'm sort of quiet. I don't go around boasting too much."

Garcia stakes update

Trainer Carlos Garcia runs his three 1994 stakes winners -- Prospective Joy, Suspect Terrain and Can't Be Denied -- in a trio of added-money races during the coming week.

Prospective Joy is heavily favored today to win the Politely Stakes at Laurel.

After the speedy, but nervous, 3-year-old filly won the Jameela Stakes last month, Garcia thought about sending her to the New Bolton Center for veterinary medicine in Kennett Square, Pa., for tests since she holds her breath when she runs.

"But they wanted to keep her for five days, so we didn't do it since it was too big of an interruption in her training schedule for this race," Garcia said. "But after the Politely, we might do it."

Suspect Terrain runs tomorrow in the $60,000 Conniver Stakes, but Garcia is pessimistic about her chances since she drew the outside post position.

Can't Be Denied works at Laurel tomorrow, then will be shipped on Monday to Turfway Park in Florence, Ky. He is expected to run next Saturday in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial and then might stay at Turfway for the April 2 $600,000 Jim Beam Stakes.

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