Pino, Capuano Win 2002 Maryland Titles
Date Posted: 12/31/2002 6:46:23 PM

(From Maryland Jockey Club Releases)
Jockey Mario Pino captured the Maryland riding title with 227 winners at Pimlico and Laurel Park in 2002, his second one in the last four years. Dale Capuano earned the training championship, his fifth in the last six years, saddling 107 winners.

Pino, who won the Pimlico spring meet, topped apprentice sensation Ryan Fogelsonger (188) for his second career Maryland championship. He also was Maryland's top jockey in 1999. Horatio Karamanos (170) was third in the standings.

"I try to stay consistent and if you do that the numbers add up," said Pino, who has been part of the Maryland colony since 1979. "It is not easy to stay steady. I was reading the story about Laffit Pincay and to see how consistent he has been motivates me. I know how hard it was to get 5,000 winners and he has nearly doubled that."

Pino became the 18th jockey in history to ride 5,000 winners on his 41st birthday this year. He ended 2002 with 5,064 victories.

Pino led the circuit with 16 stakes victories and won a career-best $6,459,305.

Capuano easily defeated Jerry Robb (80) and Scott Lake (76) for the conditioning title. The 40-year old won four of the five meets this year, including the recently completed Laurel Park fall meet.

"The competition around here is really tough and I don't think about the title until we get to the end of the year and we have to start talking about it," said Capuano, who finished sixth nationally with 200 wins.

Last year Capuano set career-highs in wins (235) and earnings ($4.4 million). This year he earned $3.6 million. In the last 12 years, Capuano has won 1,244 races in Maryland and has never finished worse than third in the conditioner standings.

Jockey Fogelsonger and trainer Tony Dutrow finished the year with the best winning percentages in Maryland. Fogelsonger won 22.1% of his mounts (188/850), while Dutrow saddled winners at a 35.4% clip (46/130). Each will receive a $5,000 bonus from the Maryland Jockey Club.

The honor capped off a tremendous rookie season for Fogelsonger who won the Laurel fall meet riding title with 101 victories. He also won the Pimlico summer/fall title and finished 2002 as the second leading rider in the state. In the last 76 days of the season at Pimlico and Laurel, he had at least one win 69 times with 43 multiple win days. During that period he had 10 four-win days and a pair of five victory afternoons.

The 21-year-old led all apprentice riders in wins (266), earnings ($4,484,091) and winning percentage (22%). He finished 12th of the national standings.

"It has simply been an amazing year," added Fogelsonger who rode his first race in late March and didn't win a race until May 1.

For Dutrow, it was the third time in the last four years that he is the top percentage trainer. Since 1999, he has won at a staggering 32.5% clip in Maryland (209-of-642).

"I don't know how long theses days are going to last," said Dutrow. "Things have fallen into place so well that when I sit back and look at these numbers it is kind of like 'wow what is going on here'? I get about 30 or 40 babies every year, averaging about $100,000 each, so there is a good chance to succeed. To have that kind of quality helps and has a great deal to do with the numbers. It has truly been a wonderful year."

Michael Gill dominated the owner standings by winning 110 races for the year, including 28 during the Laurel fall meet. Gill finished second in the nation with 228 victories and was fifth in earnings ($5.6 million). He earned $2.3 million at Pimlico and Laurel.

Sondra Bender won a state-leading seven stakes races and amassed over $650,000 in earnings.

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