Mario Pino. Coady Photography.

Jockey Pino Notches 7,000th Career Win, Announces Plans to Retire

TVG Staff Report

Veteran jockey Mario Pino celebrated his 7,000th career victory on Oct. 20 at Presque Isle Downs when he guided Enjoy the Music to a three-quarter length win in the day’s fourth race. 

Pino, 60, headed into Wednesday’s card two victories away from the milestone. He first triumph on the day came in the second race aboard Gucci Gal.

The 2016 recipient of the Mike Venezia Memorial Award, Pino started his career in 1977 and ranks 10th all time among jockeys in North America for most career wins. He has made over 42,000 career starts and amassed total earnings in excess of $131 million. In an interview with BloodHorse on Oct. 21, Pino stated he would retire after riding Thursday’s card at Presque Isle. 

“Today will be my last day riding racehorses,” he told BloodHorse Thursday. “You know what, I kinda feel satisfied with my career. I really do. I feel like I did what I could do.”

His graciousness on and off the track earned Pino the prestigious Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award in 2013, which honors riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing. 

Pino garnered national acclaim as the regular rider of Grade 1 winner Hard Spun in 2007, guiding him to a second-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and to victories in the King’s Bishop Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and the Kentucky Cup Classic (G2) at Turfway Park. He would go on to ride the Larry Jones trainee to a runner-up finish behind eventual Horse of the Year Curlin in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Monmouth Park.

Primarily based in the Mid-Atlantic, He was the leading rider at Delware Park in 1979 and 1980, and ranked in the top five among Maryland jockeys every year from 1979 to 2003, finishing as the leading rider in 1999 and 2002.