, Maryland racing’s all-time leading rider, has been
selected by a vote of his fellow jockeys as the 64th winner of the
prestigious Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. The
announcement was made Friday morning on HRTV and it is expected that
Pino will fly west to Santa Anita from his Maryland base in mid or late
March to accept the award.
Pino outpolled a group of finalists that included Javier Castellano, Perry Compton, David Flores and Rodney Prescott.
Initiated by Santa Anita in 1950, the Woolf Award honors riders
whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and
the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing.
Born Sept. 8, 1961, in West Grove, Pennsylvania, Pino won his
first race at Maryland’s Bowie Racecourse on Jan. 16, 1979. He became
racing’s 10th winningest jockey this past Sept. 18, as he passed Hall of
Famer Earlie Fires by notching his 6,471st victory at Presque Isle
Downs in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Pino garnered national acclaim as the regular rider of top-tier
3-year-old Hard Spun in 2007, guiding him to a second-place finish in
the Kentucky Derby and to victories in the Grade I King’s Bishop Stakes
at Saratoga and the Grade II Kentucky Cup Classic 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 at
One of the most highly respected jockeys in America, Pino and
his wife, Christina and three daughters reside in Ellicott City,
Maryland where he devotes much of his spare time to coaching youth
Pino’s career has been marked by consistency as he has never won
fewer than 141 races in a year. He has topped the 200-win mark 12
times, with his highest win total coming in 2001, when he booted home
The Woolf Award was created to honor and memorialize the
legendary jockey George “The Iceman” Woolf, who was regarded as one of
the greatest big money riders of his era and who died following a spill
on Santa Anita’s Club House turn on Jan. 3, 1946. The Woolf trophy is a
replica of the full-size statue of the late jockey which adorns Santa
Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.
The Woolf Award was won last year by Ramon Dominguez.