Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winning jockey Mario Gutierrez returns to Emerald Downs for the $50,000 Kent Handicap July 15, then plans to ride for the remainder of the summer at Hastings Racecourse in Vancouver.
Twice the riding champion at Hastings, Gutierrez is based in Southern California with veteran agent Ivan Puhich, who said Gutierrez plans to ride the remainder of the summer in Vancouver before returning to California for the fall meet at Santa Anita Park.
Gutierrez has the mount on Regal Betty for trainer John Sadler in the 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-old fillies at Emerald Downs, near Seattle, next weekend.
The 25-year-old Gutierrez stunned the racing world in May with flawless rides aboard I'll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness (gr. I). The colt captured the first two legs of the Triple Crown before being retired with a tendon injury.
In spite of his success with I'll Have Another, business has not picked up much in Southern California for Gutierrez. He captured the Royal Heoine Mile Stakes (gr. IIT) for I'll Have Another's owner, J. Paul Reddam, and trainer Ben Cecil July 7, however.
A native of Veracruz, Mexico, Gutierrez has 16 career mounts at Emerald Downs with one win, four seconds and three thirds. The victory came when Holy Nova and Mario Gutierrez dead-heated with Elusive Horizon and Juan Gutierrez in the 2009 Boeing Handicap for fillies and mares.
The riding champion at Hastings in 2007 and 2008, Gutierrez relocated to Southern California last winter and made headlines with victories aboard I’ll Have Another in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II). Shunning offers from other riders, owner Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill stuck with Gutierrez, and the jockey rewarded their faith.
Regal Betty has two wins from seven starts for Sadler, who is annually among the leading trainers in Southern California. Purchased by owner Michael Talla for $250,000, the Florida-bred daughter of Congrats most recently finished fifth in the $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks won by Princess Arabella. Regal Betty notched victories in a one-mile maiden special weight at Del Mar, and later the $35,000 Arizona Oaks at Turf Paradise.