Dreams really do come true when your name is Mario Gutierrez. Aboard Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another, Gutierrez masterfully rode to a heart-stopping win today in the 2012 Preakness Stakes in Baltimore, Maryland.
In the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes, Gutierrez and I’ll Have Another were the clear Canadian favorites. Following I’ll Have Another’s Kentucky Derby win on May 5, 2012, Canadians started to dare to dream that their hometown boy just might make horseracing history with a Triple Crown win. Born in Veracruz, Mexico, Gutierrez has been racing at Vancouver's Hastings Park since immigrating to Canada in 2006. In what could not have been a much tighter race, Gutierrez and I’ll Have Another treated horseracing fans to a deja vu win over Kentucky Derby runner-up Bodemeister. Staying within striking distance for the majority of the race, Gutierrez held I’ll Have Another in check until the final furlongs. With just moments to spare, Gutierrez skillfully challenged his “amazing horse” to outrace Bodemeister in a last second burst of speed towards the finish line. Following their incredible win, horseracing’s sweetheart duo will have three weeks off in order to prepare for the 2012 running of the Belmont Stakes on June 9th. If Gutierrez and I’ll Have Another manage to pull out a Belmont Stakes win this year, they will be the first horseracing duo to win the United States’ Triple Crown since Affirmed’s win in 1978.
Following Gutierrez’ 2012 Kentucky Derby win, Vancouver’s Hastings Park racetrack has seen a significant spike in horseracing interest. From intense media attention to local well-wishers hoping to congratulate “super Mario” on his Kentucky Derby win, Hastings Racecourse has definitely been living up to its “bred for excitement” tagline lately. Canadians will definitely be chomping at the bit as they await Gutierrez’ Triple Crown attempt on June 9th. As quoted in the New York Times, Gutierrez’ belief that “If you have a dream and you follow it and you work hard, sometimes you need a little luck and a little push” might be exactly what Canadians now have in mind. With Gutierrez’ dream, I’ll Have Another’s speed, and the well wishes of Canadians pushing them forward, the only element that is missing is the luck. Then again, that’s what horse shoes are for, right?