Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mexican-Born Jockey Has 'Chin Up' after Dashed Dreams at Triple Crown: Mentor: Jockey Has 'Chin Up' after Belmont Scratch

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Mexican-Born Jockey Has 'Chin Up' after Dashed Dreams at Triple Crown: Mentor: Jockey Has 'Chin Up' after Belmont Scratch

Article excerpt

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver racetrack where Mexican jockey Mario Gutierrez made his start will celebrate his victories Saturday instead of sulking in the disappointment of a missed opportunity for the Triple Crown.

But the horse owner who mentored the young man who arrived in Canada with virtually nothing says the star of the dashed but magical run for the last jewel in the Triple Crown is now Gutierrez, not the horse I'll Have Another.

"I'm so proud of that boy, regardless of what happened today," Glen Todd said Friday after speaking with the jockey.

"He's still got his chin up. He's sad, naturally."

I'll Have Another was unexpectedly scratched from the Belmont Stakes on Friday due to a tendon injury and has now been retired.

Todd, who describes himself as Gutierrez's Canadian father, met the 25-year-old jockey six years ago.

"He came from a little town in Mexico with a garbage bag full of clothes and that was his whole belongings and here he is a few years later in the biggest races in the world."

Gutierrez will return to Vancouver on July 2 to ride one of his horses in a big-stake race, Todd said.

He said Gutierrez rode I'll Have Another for the first time in January but thought the horse was so super he'd never get to race it.

"Sure enough, he got to ride it and that started the story."

Now, fans have dubbed Gutierrez "Super Mario."

The jockey is so grateful for his time at Hastings Park and the dreams he's fulfilled on a Canadian horse that he wants to become a Canadian citizen, Todd said.

"He loves Vancouver. He's done so much for the city in putting us on the map in the racing world. It's unbelievable."

Howard Blank, vice-president of the Great Canadian Gaming Corp., which runs the Hastings Park racetrack, said I'll Have Another's premature retirement is sad, but his achievements are worth celebrating.

"Initially we were disappointed for Mario and for the I'll Have Another team but our sadness turned into joy because we took a breath and realized what a remarkable accomplishment Mario has made already," Blank.

The colt nabbed the Kentucky Derby on May 5 and the Preakness two weeks later before his bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.