05/24/2012 2:20PM

Hollywood Park: Gutierrez gets to ride maiden named in honor of his Kentucky Derby win

Tom Keyser
Mario Gutierrez, shown after winning the Preakness aboard I'll Have Another, will ride the 2-year-old maiden Cinco de Mario in Saturday's second race at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The latest proof that May 2012 will be a month like no other in the life of jockey Mario Gutierrez will occur when he arrives in the paddock at Betfair Hollywood Park for Saturday’s second race.

Gutierrez’s mount in that race for 2-year-olds is maidens is named after him – Cinco de Mario, which commemorates his victory on I’ll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby on May 5. I’ll Have Another and Cinco de Mario are owned by Paul and Zillah Reddam and trained by Doug O’Neill.

Since the Kentucky Derby, Gutierrez, 25, has had a hectic month on and off the track. Virtually unknown outside of Vancouver and Los Angeles before the Kentucky Derby, Gutierrez has been the racing man in demand, particularly since I’ll Have Another’s win in the Preakness Stakes on May 19.

The jockey’s schedule has been full of media interviews squeezed between his continuing efforts to strengthen his business in Southern California in his first full year of riding on this circuit. Gutierrez moved from Hastings Park in Vancouver last fall and is riding his first spring-summer meeting at Hollywood Park this year.

At times, he has seen a bit worn out by all the attention. “All I do is talk to the press,” he said last weekend.

This weekend, Gutierrez will be delighted to focus more on racing.

Gutierrez has a busy day on Saturday at Hollywood Park, with six mounts on the nine-race program. Monday, he rides Quiet Oasis in the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes for fillies and mares on turf for Reddam and trainer Ben Cecil.

Gutierrez has a history with Quiet Oasis, On April 29, days before the Kentucky Derby, he rode Quiet Oasis to an upset win in the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap at Hollywood Park. It is a race he remembers vividly.

“I haven’t won that many races here,” he said earlier this week. “I remember them all.”

Through Wednesday, Gutierrez had 2 wins from 19 mounts at the Hollywood Park meeting. The low number of wins and mounts has been affected by his extensive travels to Kentucky and Maryland. He even snuck in an afternoon back at Hastings on May 13, a day in which he was honored for his Kentucky Derby win.

It was a poignant day for Gutierrez, who admits being homesick for Hastings. He said he could ride there occasionally when the opportunity arises.

“All I have for the last month, everything I have, is because of them,” he said. “I won’t forget that. If they want me to ride I could go home and clear my head a little bit.”

As for Cinco de Mario, O’Neill says the colt has ability, but is guarded over the chances in Saturday’s race over 4 1/2 furlongs.

“He’s got the ability, but he’s a little on the studdy side,” O’Neill said. “He may need a race or two to figure it out.”