Mario Gutierrez Wins Preakness Stakes: Eyes Historic Triple Crown Win at Belmont
Super Mario has officially jettisoned himself to the middle of the sports universe by winning the Preakness Stakes. On Cinco de Mayo, Mexican born Mario Gutierrez set the racing world on fire with his spectacular win at the Kentucky Derby. Yet, winning the derby was not enough for the Veracruz native, as the young jockey won the second leg of the Triple Crown in stunning fashion.
This has been an amazing year of firsts for the once small time jockey, as Mario Gutierrez had never ridden in a Kentucky Derby before he guided I'll Have Another past Bodemeister to win the 138th Run for the Roses. Also, Gutierrez had never ridden in the Preakness before passing Bodemeister at the wire to win the second leg of the Triple Crown.
If history is an indicator for success, then you may not want to miss the Belmont Stakes because Gutierrez has never ridden this race, either.
"It will be a first time for me," said Gutierrez on Saturday after the Preakness. "It will be the first time going to New York, first time I'm going to be at the racetrack."
If Gutierrez was complimented for his cool ride in the Derby, he earned even more praise on Saturday at Pimlico. As the lone speed horse in the race, Bodemeister had his way in the lead, setting the pace. Instead of pushing the leader, as many thought might happen, Gutierrez chose to lay back in fourth place, even though he had been pushed out wide. Then, like a flash, raced down the stretch to take the win by a nose.
"Mario Gutierrez had him in a really good spot," Bob Baffert, Bodemeister's trainer, said. "I was watching him the whole race. That kid was just sitting chilly on him. I was hoping he would chase us a little but he refuses to chase Bodemeister.”
Many expected Gutierrez and I’ll Have Another to be among the leaders in the race, but nobody expected the duo to take the win. Yet, even with the skill set of Gutierrez and the speed of I’ll Have Another, the third and final leg of the coveted Triple Crown will take one monumental performance from the pair.
In any case, Gutierrez and I’ll Have Another will remain atop the sports headlines leading up to the June 9th Belmont Stakes. However, with one more win, the once little known jockey and the underdog horse could cement themselves in sports history.