Before the Kentucky Derby, Mario Gutierrez  was largely unknown, a small market jockey making the rounds on the racing circuit. On the morning of May 5, the 25-year-old Mexican jockey was tasked with piloting Santa Anita Derby winner I’ll Have Another in the 138th Kentucky Derby, his first-ever mount in a Triple Crown race. Today, he might be the most well known jockey in the world.
Now that Gutierrez has won the most illustrious of American classics, the once minor-league jockey will again be in the national spotlight. The native of Mexico knows the most pressing date on his calendar is May 19 when he and I’ll Have Another shoot for the second leg of the Triple Crown in the Preakness Stakes.
"It’s a little tiring and I try not to say no to anybody," Gutierrez said during a national teleconference last week. "It’s been a great experience so far and I’m just trying to enjoy it right now ... but we have another big race coming up so we’ll come back to reality.
"It has absolutely changed my life, all these press conferences. Hopefully everyone will understand that racing is my career and I want to be focused for the next big race coming up because this isn’t over yet. I don’t want this to bother me to perform well in the Preakness."
Gutierrez plans to arrive early this week at Pimlico to get acclimated, "but all the tracks are the same," Gutierrez said. "They have dirt and they are a circle. I’ll gallop a few horses and just prepare like I did for the Kentucky Derby. Hopefully everything goes right."
If everything goes right, the once upstart jockey from Mexico might be the center of the sports universe.