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Jun 22, 2012

Gutierrez reflects on I'll Have Another retirement


Elmont, NY (Sports Network) - The scratch from the Belmont Stakes of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another and his subsequent retirement came as shock Friday morning to the racing community. Most affected are the people who surround the chestnut colt: the owner, trainer, grooms and jockey.

Mario Gutierrez was a relative unknown jockey out of Mexico who rode I'll Have Another into the limelight with wins in the Run for the Roses and Preakness Stakes. He had a chance to talk about all that has happened in such a short period of time.

"Before I'll Have Another, no one knew who I was. It has been an unbelievable journey." Gutierrez said Saturday at Belmont Park.

"I came here for the horse, I'll Have Another, and Mr. Reddam and [Doug] O'Neill," the jockey said, "so I asked what was the plan [after I'll Have Another was retired]. 'Are we going home? Are we leaving?' And they were like, 'No, we're sticking around.' And I was, like, 'Awesome!' This is my job. Like any other sport, something a little bad happens, but then you have to keep moving forward. This is my job, this is what I love to do."

Friday at Belmont Park, Gutierrez finished second twice and off the board in the Brooklyn Handicap. He was using those mounts in preparation for riding in the Belmont Stakes, but his ride in the Test of Champions was no more.

"I have to keep riding the horses and give the best chances for them. It is my job. Like any other rider, we're professional in what we do," Gutierrez commented. "This is horse racing. [Having horses scratch] always happens; it's just that this is a big race and everybody has been paying so much attention. It's like an everyday thing."

Gutierrez is scheduled to ride Sunday at Hollywood Park in the sixth race.

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