10/03/2012 2:39PM

Santa Anita: Gutierrez has one more hectic weekend before settling back in California

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Barbara D. Livingston
Jockey Mario Gutierrez will primarily be riding in Southern California for the rest of the season.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Jockey Mario Gutierrez is back riding in Southern California for the first time in three months at the current Santa Anita autumn meeting, at least when he is not busy traveling around North America for major stakes.

Best known for winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes on I’ll Have Another in May, Gutierrez, 26, has a busy itinerary this weekend, one that will cover approximately 6,400 miles from Saturday through Monday riding at Keeneland, Hoosier Park, Santa Anita, and Hastings racecourse.

He is scheduled to ride He’s Had Enough in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Saturday afternoon before making the 200-mile trip north to Hoosier Park to ride Second City in the Indiana Derby later that day.

Gutierrez travels back to California for Sunday’s program at Santa Anita and then flies to Vancouver to ride at Hastings on Monday.

Gutierrez has not ridden regularly in Southern California since July, the end of the spring-summer meeting at Betfair Hollywood Park. He rode occasionally at Del Mar, going winless with eight mounts, but had success in other parts of the country in late summer.

For trainer Troy Taylor, his longtime supporter, Gutierrez won the Longacres Mile at Emerald Downs in Washington in August. He spent considerable time at the western Canadian tracks Northlands Park in Edmonton and Hastings in Vancouver, where he won six stakes from mid-July to mid-September.

Four of those stakes were aboard Evelyn’s Dancer and Commander, horses he is scheduled to ride in stakes at Hastings on Monday.

Taking a break from California was part of a plan, Gutierrez said.

“I rode the stakes for Troy,” he said. “I had success with the Longacres Mile.”

After this weekend’s travels, Gutierrez will be able to focus on Santa Anita. Last weekend, on the opening three days of the autumn meeting, he spent mornings working horses, but was winless with 10 mounts. For his comeback on this circuit, Gutierrez has switched agents, replacing Ivan Puhich with Craig O’Bryan.

They have a month to attract mounts for the Breeders’ Cup for Nov. 2-3 and gain a more prominent role among a competitive jockey roster in Southern California.

“We can step it up and improve,” Gutierrez said. “I’ve had an amazing year and I want it to continue.”

HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
It’s good that Doug O’Neill is giving him chances. I am rooting for Mario to win one of them races. I really hope he wins one of them big races for O’Neill. You know that’s Mario’s only big barn he rides. Other riders ride for the other big barns like guys like Rafael Beajarano, Joe Talamo, Garrett Gomez, Edwin Maldonado and Martin Garcia.
anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, everyone is so positive on a guy connected to the biggest farce in horse racing.
Mable Roberts More than 1 year ago
I hope Barry Irwin & Graham Motion pick him up for Animal Kingdom on Breeder's Cup day! No second thoughts that he would ride him perfectly.
Alyssa F. More than 1 year ago
Now that would be something else...a KY winning jock riding a former KY Derby winner. Hmm....
Five More than 1 year ago
If he picks up AK. AK is off my tickets.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Good for you, Mario. Your connections are keeping you busy on some good horses. Good luck to you and your clients in those stakes races. I see you have a new agent, a move that eventually would have had to be made due to Ivan's advancing age. You and Ivan are like family, it could not have been a move that was easy for you to make. You will always be special to one another. I hope Craig will do a fabulous job or you and is able to help you attract a growing and talented list of clients and horses. I'm pulling for you, Mario.
silver_charm More than 1 year ago
#Jockey #SuperMario to have a busy weekend riding @ #Keeneland Hoosier #SantaAnita & #HastingsPark. Wish Godspeed & success! This guy's a good intelligent rider, works well with horses. #horseracing
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
why the # over and over ? just curious.
Josh More than 1 year ago
Great Kid but timing is everything and it isn't his turn yet. The shortage of horses in California continues to make race riding more competitive than ever and Rafael Bejarano, young Joe Talamo, Edwin Muldonado, and of course the veterans Smith, Pedroza, Espinoza and Flores still have solid connections on the backstretch. Doug O'Neill doesn't have enough stock to push this kid anywhere near the top of the rider standings and I'll Have Another's only come along once in a lifetime. I admire Mario's spunk for trying to crack this roster but it isn't his turn yet.
HandicapperErni More than 1 year ago
I'd take Gutteriez, Hernandez and Tyler Baze over Martin Garcia and Edwin Maldonado who I do fine both of them quite overrated.
Babette Cade More than 1 year ago
Terrific for this young man. I was surprised when he returned to Hastings after his IHA successes.
Ange More than 1 year ago
Go Mario Go! Be Safe and Be First!