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By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,Sun reporter | March 26, 2007
Hard Spun's trainer, Larry Jones, said "it might be suicide" to take on pre-Kentucky Derby favorite Street Sense and highly respected Great Hunter in three weeks in the Grade I, $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, but Hard Spun's jockey, Mario Pino, sees it as simply the next step in the thoroughbred's development. "If those horses had been in the Lane's End with us [Saturday], it would have been hard for them to run my horse down. It's one step at a time, and his next race will simply be another obstacle to overcome."
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By Sandra McKee, The Baltimore Sun | September 13, 2012
Jockey Mario Pino, an Ellicott City resident who has spent most of his career in Maryland, is close to joining horse racing's top 10 all-time North American wins list. Pino is just one win away from tying Hall of Fame rider Earlie Fires, who is currently at No. 10 with 6,470 career victories. Pino had three chance to tie Fires at Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa., on Thursday, but he went winless. Pino is scheduled to ride five horses at the track Friday. Pino, who celebrated his 51st birthday Saturday, set the top 10 as his goal about six years ago. "At the time, looking at how far away I was [about 470 wins away]
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SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER | April 13, 2007
Maryland jockey Mario Pino was sitting by his phone yesterday morning waiting impatiently for trainer Larry Jones to call from Churchill Downs and tell him whether Hard Spun, the 3-year-old Danzig colt, would be going to the Kentucky Derby on May 5. "I was nervous," Pino said. "Then when the phone rang, I said, `Uh-oh!' But it was all good news. Larry was very happy. We're going to the Kentucky Derby." It will be the first Derby for Pino in his 28-year career and also the first for Jones and Hard Spun's owner, Rick Porter, a Delaware car dealer.
SPORTS
By Bill Ordine and Bill Ordine,bill.ordine@baltsun.com | April 26, 2009
Many in horse racing would say trainer Larry Jones and part-owner Rick Porter, who are bringing Friesan Fire to the Kentucky Derby starting gate Saturday, are the sport's hard-luck connection. But despite a fair amount of evidence to back that up, Jones and Porter would beg to differ. The two saw filly Eight Belles tragically go down with two broken ankles after crossing the finish line second at Churchill Downs a year ago and get euthanized on the track, and this month they were forced to retire early Derby favorite Old Fashioned with a knee injury.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,[Sun reporter] | October 28, 2007
OCEANPORT, N.J. --There they were, the three superstars of the 3-year-old class, coming down the stretch, sloshing through the mud that was so saturated it was called sloppy, separating themselves from the rest of the field in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic. And when the race was over, it was the amazing Curlin who emerged victorious in a Monmouth Park track record-tying time of 2 minutes, .59 of a second, with Hard Spun 4 1/2 lengths back. Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, the betting favorite, finished fourth, one length behind Awesome Gem, a 4-year-old who used the race's speed to generate one big closing run for third . "I've been watching horse racing since 1939," said Jess Jackson, who owns Curlin with Satish Sanan and George Bolton, a Baltimore native.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER | May 21, 2007
The sun had barely put a streak into the night sky yesterday morning, when trainer Steve Asmussen strolled into the stakes barn at Pimlico Race Course. Asmussen, usually an intense man who follows a tight schedule, wasn't supposed to be there. He had said the night before - shortly after his brilliant 3-year-old, Curlin, had won a spectacular battle to win the 132nd Preakness by a head bob over Street Sense in a record-tying time of 1 minute, 53.46 seconds - that he would be flying back to Lexington, Ky., that night.
SPORTS
By SANDRA MCKEE | April 11, 2007
Trainer Larry Jones said yesterday that he hopes to work Fox Hill Farm's Kentucky Derby contender Hard Spun at Churchill Downs tomorrow morning to determine how much the 3-year-old likes the racetrack. If Hard Spun works well on the dirt surface, Jones said the colt will train up to the Kentucky Derby on May 5 instead of running Saturday in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. If he handles the track poorly, the plan would be to run in the Grade II Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland on April 21, and then go directly to the Preakness, the second jewel of racing's Triple Crown, May 19 at Pimlico Race Course.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER | March 24, 2007
Hard Spun has lost only once in five career starts, but his race today in the Grade II $500,000 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., is crucial to his future on the trail to the Kentucky Derby. Why? Because Hard Spun needs money to qualify for the Derby on May 5 if more than 20 horses enter. Right now the Pennsylvania-bred son of Danzig has just $60,000 in qualifying graded-stakes earnings, which puts him 35th on the list of all nominees. Officer Rocket, the 20th-ranked horse, has $153,260, and time is getting short on a schedule that has just one more possible Derby prep race after today.
SPORTS
By Kent Baker and Kent Baker,SUN REPORTER | May 17, 2007
Trainer Carl Nafzger was pacing like an expectant father in the stakes barn area of Pimlico Race Course, awaiting the arrival of Street Sense yesterday. Nafzger had driven from Kentucky to Maryland with his wife, Wanda, ahead of the flight carrying the Kentucky Derby victor while the threat of a thunderstorm loomed in the area and was relieved when Street Sense arrived and was led safely to Stall 40. "He let down. He's nice and quiet," said the trainer before he was whisked away by a driver to the post-position draw in the Inner Harbor.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER | October 26, 2007
OCEANPORT, N.J. -- Hard Spun and his jockey Mario Pino are a perfect match. According to his jockey, the horse - running in tomorrow's Breeders' Cup Classic - does not get the respect he deserves. According to Hard Spun's trainer, the jockey does not get the recognition he deserves. "People keep saying I'm using a little-known jockey," said trainer Larry Jones, puzzlement showing in his face. "Mario's [four] wins from 6,000. He's one of the top 15 riders in the history of the game. He's one of the most experienced riders there is. He's the second-winningest on the active list.
SPORTS
By RICK MAESE | May 1, 2008
LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- --From the dawn of time - when Adam forgot to put the seat down back behind the Tree of Knowledge - the battle of the sexes is a rivalry that has played out over and over. Joan of Arc, Gloria Steinem, Billie Jean King, Hillary Clinton, Danica Patrick. And now, galloping in their trailblazing footsteps is a beautiful 3-year-old girl named Eight Belles. On Saturday, the filly will take on a field of 19 boys in the Kentucky Derby. You should see her - tall, proud, sturdy.
SPORTS
January 22, 2008
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Preakness and Breeders' Cup Classic winner Curlin swept Horse of the Year and 3-year-old male honors at the 37th annual Eclipse Awards last night. Curlin overwhelmed the competition in Horse of the Year voting, receiving 249 first-place votes to 12 for Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches. Last year's winner, Invasor, earned two votes. Corinthian, English Channel and Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense received one each in balloting by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers Association.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER | October 29, 2007
OCEANPORT, N.J. -- The day after Curlin won the Breeders' Cup Classic against his two toughest rivals, Street Sense and Hard Spun, to lock up Horse of the Year honors, the big red horse's future is unknown. Will he race at age 4 or will he go to a breeding farm - like Street Sense and Hard Spun will tomorrow - and perhaps become the beginning of a stronger, more durable breed of horse? "We're still on cloud nine, so I don't think I can make a rational decision right now," said Jess Jackson, who owns Curlin with Satish Sanan and George Bolton.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,[Sun reporter] | October 28, 2007
OCEANPORT, N.J. --There they were, the three superstars of the 3-year-old class, coming down the stretch, sloshing through the mud that was so saturated it was called sloppy, separating themselves from the rest of the field in the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic. And when the race was over, it was the amazing Curlin who emerged victorious in a Monmouth Park track record-tying time of 2 minutes, .59 of a second, with Hard Spun 4 1/2 lengths back. Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, the betting favorite, finished fourth, one length behind Awesome Gem, a 4-year-old who used the race's speed to generate one big closing run for third . "I've been watching horse racing since 1939," said Jess Jackson, who owns Curlin with Satish Sanan and George Bolton, a Baltimore native.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER | October 26, 2007
OCEANPORT, N.J. -- Hard Spun and his jockey Mario Pino are a perfect match. According to his jockey, the horse - running in tomorrow's Breeders' Cup Classic - does not get the respect he deserves. According to Hard Spun's trainer, the jockey does not get the recognition he deserves. "People keep saying I'm using a little-known jockey," said trainer Larry Jones, puzzlement showing in his face. "Mario's [four] wins from 6,000. He's one of the top 15 riders in the history of the game. He's one of the most experienced riders there is. He's the second-winningest on the active list.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,Sun reporter | August 24, 2007
Jockey Jonathan Joyce can't wait to get to Timonium today when the track opens for its traditional seven-day meet during the Maryland State Fair. "The atmosphere is so much fun," Joyce said. "Last year was my first year at a fair meet and I loved seeing the people. All the kids. Kids were asking me for my goggles after races and I could relate. When I was a kid, I was the kid who'd come back after a race and ask for the autograph and the goggles. I did the same thing and now I'm here. Maybe one of those kids will be here, too, someday."
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER | May 17, 2007
Maybe it's the first sign of a reversal of fortune - and maybe not. But Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and second-place finisher Hard Spun drew each other's Derby starting gate numbers yesterday for Saturday's 132nd Preakness at Pimlico Race Course. "This time, we got the seven hole and they got the eight," said Hard Spun's trainer, Larry Jones. "Maybe that means this time we'll get the win and he gets second." If that was supposed to put pressure on Street Sense trainer Carl Nafzger, Jones will have to try again.
SPORTS
May 6, 2007
The Race (Post position in parentheses) 1. STREET SENSE (7) Win: $11.80 Place: $6.40 Show: $4.60 2. HARD SPUN (8) Place: $9.80 Show: $7.00 3. CURLIN (2) Show: $5.60 Time: 2:02.17 Margin of victory: 2 1/4 lengths Winning jockey Calvin Borel Winning trainer: Carl Nafzger
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,Sun Reporter | June 9, 2007
BELMONT, N.Y. -- The last time a horse who was unraced as a 2-year-old won the Belmont Stakes was 1918. You can look it up. But Johren, who won that day, could have company by tonight if Curlin can stand up to the punishing, 1 1/2 -mile "Test of the Champion." Curlin's trainer, Steve Asmussen, took his colt to the main Belmont Park track at 6:30 a.m. yesterday for his last warm-up for the Grade I, $1 million endurance test. Then, with prayer beads attached, but hidden from view on his belt, he told a large crowd of reporters that he's taking nothing for granted.
SPORTS
By Sandra McKee and Sandra McKee,SUN REPORTER | June 8, 2007
ELMONT, N.Y. -- A few days before the Kentucky Derby, Hard Spun's trainer, Larry Jones, considered the then-mystery horse Curlin and suggested that, in a few months, everyone might be looking at the big, red 3-year-old as a super horse. Yesterday, standing in the early morning sun at Belmont Park shortly after Curlin had galloped by - with his coat glowing and his head cocked to the side in that special way he has - retired Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey found himself speechless when asked what might prevent Curlin from winning tomorrow's 139th Belmont Stakes.
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