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Local Jockey Mario Gutierrez Tries To Become First Jockey In 34 Years To Win The Triple Crown!


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Mario Gutierrez is a great story.Poor Mexican kid comes to a "B" track in Hastings Park here in Vancouver and becomes the leading jockey here. The top owner and trainer here at Hastings(Glen Todd and Troy Taylor) bring him down to the "A" Track Santa Anita in the winter when Hastings Park doesn't run.Of course, he was expected to run in low claiming races but by chance he gets to ride a super longshot called I'll Have Another in the Robert Lewis Stakes which is a Kentucky Derby prep race and he wins it at 43-1 odds. Most owners and trainers would abandon the unknown jockey there and go with a proven jockey. But O'Neill and Reddam stick with Mario in the Santa Anita Derby and he wins the biggest race in his life by a nose. Off to the Kentucky Derby and Mario somehow finds a perfect ride from the 19th post in a 20 horse field and against long odds wins. Now he wins the Preakness and has a chance to become the first jockey to win the Triple Crown since 1978. Yes, the horse is the true champion here but this may be the best rags to riches story for a Jockey ever. Go I'll Have Another! Go Mario!

Go to Hastings Park on June 9th to watch the Belmont Stakes and see if Mario can win it all. Great Canadian Casino may close Hastings Park after this season but Let's hope Mario and this great story can save this track. In terms of a fun day out on a sunny day it is hard to do better than Hastings.

By the way, how much of a class act was Mario for coming back to Hastings last Sunday for a appearance in the short time he had off between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness?

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I hope he wins but it will be tough.

Why is it tough? No horse has won in 34 years. Many horses has won the first two races but fail the third race.

The reason: The Belmont is the longest of the 3 races at 1 1/2 miles, The Kentucky Derby is 1 1/4 miles and the Preakness is 1 3/16 miles. Horses may be quick over short distances but they may not have the stamina to sustain the same pace over 1 1/2 miles. That is why there are so few Triple Crown winners.

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A few things: Mario's been racing at Hastings for 6 years with Moj being but one owner he's ridden for. He has been extremely successful at Hastings since day one - a natural whose connection with the horses is apparent. He is very in tune with how the horses respond and is comfortable/relaxed, even when coming from behind. We've watched him develop into the top rider there, so it's been thrilling to see his current success. Whenever we saw Mario as the rider, it meant a very good chance at winning. His money percentage last year was 66% (top rider at Hastings. Again), with 30% win standings.

He is so very humble (and nice). Had the opportunity to meet him last Sunday and wish him luck.

He continually directs all praise to the horse, taking little of the spotlight for himself. As for I'll Have Another - the other jockeys turned down this mount and Mario saw something that others didn't. He said he quickly realized this horse was special and was thrilled when presented with the opportunity to ride him. Just as he saw something special in the horse, his camp also recognized something special in him in allowing him to race in the biggest races there are without any experience at that level.

I love that they're describing Mario as having ice water in his veins - he is very relaxed prior to a race (even jokingly sticking his tongue out at his girlfriend just moments before the parade to post at the KD). I'm sure that's a big part of it - that the horses are also relaxed with him as a rider and he allows them to naturally open up and do their thing. At Hastings he was well loved by all and there is a big crowd behind him here. We all signed a big banner for him last week in support of his quest for the triple crown.

The thing with other entries in the Belmont - I'll Have Another is fairly well rested up to this point and hasn't done too much racing so it shouldn't be too much of a factor. Due to shin splints, he had a 5 month layoff so is fairly fresh. He's only raced 4 times this year (winning all 4 times!). Although he was really pushed in the stretch in both races, I'm sure he has more in the tank and believe when Mario says this horse can do it. He is bred from a dam of stamina and the distance shouldn't be too much of a factor.

(Bodemeister will not be racing in the Belmont)

So happy for Mario...a well deserved ride to the top. Will be with him all the way as he rides for the Triple Crown!!

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  • 3 months later...

Mario's riding in the Canadian Derby (my Uncle is the trainer of his horse) :)


Trainer Dennis Terry has a long history in horse racing and knows what it takes to win big races like the Canadian Derby. In fact, he’s won the historic Grade 3 race three different times.

As a jockey, Terry guided Western Morn to a win in the 1962 edition and just two years later brought home Quick Quick to a win in the 1964 running. Then as both a trainer, and an owner in partnership with his wife, Terry trained Haveigotadealforu to a win in the 1989 Canadian Derby. This year Terry brings some quiet confidence into the 2012 Canadian Derby, as he trains Devil in Disguise, the probable favorite in the race.

“This horse is the real deal,” said Terry. “He gives me confidence just by how tactical he is in his races, and how well behaved he is in general.”

Devil in Disguise shipped up to Northlands Park on July 4th, just two days after he won the $50,000 Chris Loseth Handicap at Hastings Race Course.

“He won that race and shipped just two days later, and when he got here, I called his owner Glen Todd and said ‘this horse is flat. I told Glen that I wouldn’t train him until he got his energy back, and he just walked his first week here. Once his energy came back we got to work.”

The rest seemed to work just fine for Devil in Disguise who took the $50,000 Count Lathum Handicap with relative ease as the heavy 1/5 favorite. The Count Lathum is the final local prep for the Canadian Derby and Devil in Disguise beat a couple of the rivals he’ll face in the Canadian Derby, including Toccetive and Dougs Buddy.

Terry spoke about how much development Devil in Disguise has made since coming to Northlands just over a month ago.

“Since we’ve been at Northlands, I swear he’s put on 100 pounds and blossoming so well,” said Terry. “He’s an absolute gem, when he races, he’s super controllable, you can do whatever you want with him.”

He also seems to have an unflappable demeanor that Terry thinks helps him in his races and his day to day training.

“When we got up to Edmonton, it was during the fair,” said Terry. “The fireworks were going off each night during the fair, and he was just relaxed and went with the flow, never got to antsy.”

It will be Kentucky Derby and Preakness winning jockey Mario Gutierrez who will be guiding Devil in Disguise in the Canadian Derby. Gutierrez has ridden the 3 year old son of Smarty Jones in both of his last two starts and will be returning to Northlands Park for the Canadian Derby.

“I always said we have a good Derby connection, the Kentucky Derby winning jockey, Kentucky Derby winning sire, and a Canadian Derby winning trainer,” said Terry.

Gutierrez has been the regular rider for owner Glen Todd’s North American Thoroughbred Horse Company over the last few years and Todd has been a mentor and father figure for Gutierrez. Gutierrez went on the ride of a lifetime for a jockey this past spring when he guided I’ll Have Another to consecutive wins in the Santa Anita Derby, the Kentucky Derby, and the Preakness before the horse was retired.

Devil in Disguise will likely be one of the big favorites in the 83rd running of the Canadian Derby, which goes to post on Saturday August 25th, but trainer Dennis Terry knows that anything can happen on race day.

“Favorites get beat every day at every track around the country,” said Terry. “We are going to need him to run his best race and going to need some luck. But I’m definitely confident in my horse.”

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