ARCADIA, Calif. – Mario Gutierrez plans to be at Churchill Downs on Saturday, but they will run the Kentucky Derby without him.
The obscure young jockey burst into America’s consciousness last year by guiding I’ll Have Another to stunning victories in the Derby and Preakness – within reach of the elusive Triple Crown before the colt scratched on the day before the Belmont. This year, he will likely watch the sport’s biggest race on a TV in the jockeys’ quarters. He will ride a race or two earlier in the day at Churchill and then join 150,000 others as a spectator.
“It will be nice,” Gutierrez told Yahoo! Sports last week. “I get to watch it and not have any pressure.”
The flip side of no pressure is no glory. The 26-year-old is learning the hard truth of thoroughbred racing: jockeys who come out of nowhere for an intoxicating taste of Triple Crown stardom tend to return to nowhere shortly thereafter.
Winning the Kentucky Derby changed Mario Gutierrez’s life.
“When people ask whoRead More »from Mario Gutierrez coping with relative anonymity just one year after Kentucky Derby, Preakness wins