05/30/2012 4:26PM

Hollywood Park: Gutierrez takes week off ahead of Belmont Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Mario Gutierrez has taken a week off from riding ahead of the Belmont Stakes.

Jockey Mario Gutierrez is taking this week off to spend time in Western Canada before traveling to New York to ride Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another in the Belmont Stakes on June 9.

Gutierrez rode at Hollywood Park on Monday, but is not booked to ride this week, according to his agent, Ivan Puhich. Gutierrez rode at Hastings Park in Vancouver until last October and has traveled there to visit friends this week, Puhich said.

“He’ll be leaving Canada and he’ll be going straight to New York,” Puhich said Wednesday.

“It’s been overwhelming with interviews. I thought I’d let him clear his mind and get his feet back on the ground. The object is to win the Triple Crown.”

Gutierrez won the final race at Hollywood Park on Monday, but declined to discuss his travel plans this week when approached in the jockeys’ room.

[I’LL HAVE ANOTHER: Derby, Preakness winner runs for Triple Crown]

Gutierrez is scheduled to ride in New York for a week, beginning next Wednesday. Doug O’Neill, who trains I’ll Have Another, said Gutierrez is expected to have “five to 10” mounts next week, in an effort to understand the Belmont Park racetrack, which is 1 1/2 miles in circumference.

“It can give him a little experience,” O’Neill said.

Gutierrez has won 4 of 35 mounts at the current Hollywood Park meeting, missing weekends in May to ride I’ll Have Another to wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and to travel to Hastings Park for a day in his honor.