Pino equals high with six winners

Ntombi victory in stakes part of landmark effort for 23-year veteran here

Horse Racing

May 12, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

During a 23-year career based in Maryland, jockey Mario Pino has dominated the riding on a number of racing programs, but never like yesterday at Pimlico.

Pino equaled a career high he set last July 10 at Virginia's Colonial Downs with six victories - his personal best at a Maryland track - including a comfortable win aboard Ntombi in the featured, $60,000 Hilltop Stakes.

He needed Highland Dream to score in the final race to achieve the feat and the filly responded with a come-from-behind triumph in a $7,500 claiming race.

"I had some good shots," Pino said. "I knew if the horses wanted to run, I was going to win them. Having really good horses makes it a lot easier."

Pino captured the first three races on the program with Celebs Boy, Lost And Found and Carson's Gold, the fifth with Silent Treatment and the final two. He rode winners for six different trainers.

"I've won five many times, but today I was even more pumped going into the last race. This is a great feeling to win six here at Pimlico, with the Preakness just around the corner and with all the history."

Pino had five winners the previous Saturday.

In the feature, heavily favored Ntombi was unhurried and in good position before taking command in the stretch. Pino pulled her away to a 3 3/4 -length win in 1:42 1/5 for 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Bred and owned by John Chandler and trained by Michael Dickinson, Ntombi is one of five stakes winners out of the mare Aletta Maria. Another of those is Cetewayo, one of Dickinson's leading grass horses.

"She went off her feed about a month ago and she's just starting to come back," Dickinson said of Ntombi, who wears a neck strap to prevent her from throwing her head.

Dickinson's entourage included his mother, Monica, a noted horsewoman in her day in England, whose monthlong visit includes Mother's Day today.

But the show belonged to Pino, who is approaching 5,000 career victories. "I'm 40 and I feel like I'm 30," said the veteran.

Final work for `Magic'

Local runner Magic Weisner underwent his final workout for the Preakness on Friday, going six furlongs in 1:13 at Laurel Park for trainer Nancy Alberts.

Alberts, the 10th female to saddle a horse in the race, said, "Everything went smoothly. He needed one nice, long work and he accomplished that. He galloped out in 28 [seconds] and didn't even act like it bothered him."

Magic Weisner finished second in the Tesio Stakes on April 20 in his last outing after winning four straight stakes races.

The last Maryland-bred to win the Preakness was Deputed Testamony in 1983.

Goodall to run show

Cricket Goodall has been named executive director of the Maryland Million, scheduled for Sept. 21 at Pimlico.

The assistant director to Tim Capps (now working for the Maryland Jockey Club) for a decade, Goodall is a former rider who began showing horses more than 20 years ago.

In her care at her Butler farm is Timely Warning, the two-time winner of the Maryland Million Classic.

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