5/29/2012 3:01:00 PM
Local Jockey True Champion!
By ROBERT WALDMAN
Success stories are hard to come by this day and age. Most people love the underdog and Vancouver has captured the international spotlight with the inspirational story of a local horse jockey who arrived with nothing and is going after the most prestigious prize in all of sports: The Triple Crown. Not bad for a kid who grew up in Mexico and is now riding his way into the record books. Oh, and incidentally, his name just happens to be Mario Guterriez.
All eyes will be focused on New York’s Belmont Track to watch the Belmont Stakes, a grueling 1 ½ mile race for only the best and most durable of thoroughbreds. The Belmont is the 3rd lake in the hard to achieve Triple Crown, the first two being the most famous race of them all, The Kentucky Derby from fabled Churchill Downs, followed a mere two weeks later by the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Track in Maryland. Against all odds Mario Guterriez rode wander horse I’ll Have Another to the winner’s circle, both times beating odd heavily favoured Bodemeister. Maybe this time the so-called experts and just average horse players will give this horse and this local jockey the recognition they both so richly deserved.
If you’re a bit short of cash, you don’t need to travel all the way to busy New York to get in on all the excitement. Our local racetrack, Hastings Racecourse on the PNE grounds in East Vancouver, will be having live racing that day and obviously showcasing their favourite son’s efforts to make history. Best of all it’s absolutely free to attend the races and huge preparations are underway to make the festivities at Hastings Race Course a day to remember, all because of Mario.
People in the industry and others are already saying that Mario and this horse are reviving horse racing across North America. Crowds are up in Vancouver and all over the U..S. and Canada as they watch this humble 25 year old with a winning smile do his best to fulfill a dream. It’s the classic North American success story – where nobody gave this horse, and especially this jockey, a chance in hell to conquer the so-called big boys and big horse stateside. How wrong they are.
Guterriez rode two perfect races, coming from just off the pace to challenge Bodemeister and win both races. 3rd time will prove a charm for this modest man who already has done for horse racing more than any one else in decades. Much credit must go to local horse racing supporter Glenn Todd who took Guterriez under his wing and gave him fatherly advise how to live life well and handle the pressures now besetting him.
June 9 is the date for this historic race and you can wager early at Hastings if you like. Betting windows will be open before 9:00 and you can likely bet on the big race early on Friday if you can’t make it out to the track on Saturday. Either way you can expect a real festive atmosphere at Hastings as they’ve pulled out all the stops bringing in huge t.v. screens, allowing a full hour to place your bets on the big race, which should go around 3:15 PM, with no live races during that time frame.
Good luck to Mario and to you if you want to pluck $2 down on I’ll Have Another. It’s probably a sure thing.
For more information on this big even, go the official Hastings race course website by googling it or call (604) 254-1631.