No one's life was changed more by I'll Have Another's Triple Crown chase than 25-year-old jockey Mario Gutierrez. While his winning form on the colt far from guarantees even that the jockey will get on great horses -- that side of the sport is very volatile, especially in California where so many of the top jockeys live -- he's now known to every single trainer in the country. They'll at least give him chances to prove he should ride their most promising horses.
He's also become an international star, stirring interest in racing in his adopted home of Vancouver, his actual home of Mexico and, of course, here.
According to I'll Have Another owner Paul Reddam, who phoned Gutierrez yesterday to tell him the news, the rider was stunned when he heard he wouldn't ride for the Triple Crown. But today, Gutierrez said he took the scratch in stride.
"This is horse racing," he said. "[Having horses scratch] always happens. It's just that this is a big race and everybody has been paying so much attention."
Gutierrez has believed in I'll Have Another from the first day he ever worked him out -- he immediately made calls to confidants saying, "This is the one," -- and that has not changed
"I was 100 percent confident in my horse," he said. "A lot of people didn't believe in him since Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby. Everything was going to be such a huge deal for him and he proved them wrong. I know if he was 100 percent today, he would prove everybody wrong again."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times