Pina, Packer repeat as Leading Quarter Horse Jockey

It was a repeat of 2016 as Quarter Horse jockeys Rolando Pina and Berkley Packer completed the season on equal terms. Both jockeys reeled in 21 wins during the 120-day meet that included six all-Quarter Horse nights from mid-April through October.

In the absence of both Rolando Pina and Berkley Packer, Kevin Greely, director of racing, accepted the award on their behalf for 2017 Leading Quarter Horse Jockey. Rachel McLaughlin, racing broadcast production manager, conducted the interview. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Pina started off the meet with authority and was among the track’s top three riders for the first two months. Packer returned to Indiana in June and quickly picked up where he left off, eventually catching up to Pina in the final month of racing. In the final few nights of action, the two once again were inseparable and will share the title of Leading Quarter Horse Jockey for the second straight season at Indiana Grand.

Both Pina and Packer were added to the record books last season. They each scored 28 wins on the year to equal the record for most wins by a jockey in one season that was set in 2013 by Harold Collins. Packer also earned the distinction of winning the most races on one card, recording five wins in August 2015.

This season, Pina had several stakes wins and completed the year with more purse earnings. He was the only jockey to eclipse the $500,000 this season with a total of $525,857.

Packer had more top three finishes for the year. The Idaho native not only won 21 races, but he finished second in 18 of his 112 starts for an average of 45 percent on the board for 2017. Pina had a similar top three average on the year, maintaining a 47 percent average on hitting the board.

Neither Packer nor Pina were present for the trophy presentation at the conclusion of the 2017 racing season. Kevin Greely, director of racing, and Rachel McLaughlin, racing broadcast production manager, conducted the presentation and accepted the trophy on behalf of each jockey.

The 15th season of Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing concluded Friday, Oct. 27 at Indiana Grand. Racing will resume in April 2018. Official racing dates for the 16th season of racing will be approved and announced soon by the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.