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Gutierrez Named TT TODAY Jockey of the Week

May 24th, 12
A career-changing month of May became even more special for jockey Mario Gutierrez last Saturday when he expertly piloted Iíll Have Another to a heartwrenching, come-from-behind win over Bodemeister in the $1-million Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course.

That win vaulted Gutierrez to the top of the earnings list among North America-based jockeys for the week ended May 22. Gutierrez rode three winners last week earning $648,757, with Iíll Have Anotherís $600,000 share of the Preakness purse accounting for the lionís share of overall earnings.

Gutierrez, who became an overnight sensation when he won the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1) on May 5 aboard Iíll Have Another, continued to prove in the Preakness to his rapidly diminishing group of doubters that he has a skill set and a mental focus as a jockey that belies both his ageó25óand his relative lack of big-race riding experience.

In the Preakness, Gutierrez positioned Iíll Have Another in fourth through the backstretch but never lost touch with pacesetter Bodemeister. He continued to employ patience through the far turn at Pimlico and pushed the button on Iíll Have Another at exactly the right time, as Iíll Have Another found another gear at the top of the stretch and relentlessly closed the distance between himself and Bodemeister to get up in the final strides and win by a neck.

Gutierrez is now perfect in four starts aboard Iíll Have Another, boasting wins in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) and the Santa Anita Derby (G1) earlier this year to pair with the two classic wins. He is also the third consecutive jockey to win the Preakness with his first mount, following Martin Garcia aboard Lookin At Lucky in 2010 and Jesus Castanon aboard Shackleford last year.

Gutierrez and the rest of the Iíll Have Another team now set their sights on the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 9, racing on a track that the Southern California-based jockey has never before experienced. Already skeptics have surfaced suggesting that a first-time rider who attempts to navigate Belmont Parkís massive oval, especially going 1 Ĺ miles, will be doomed to failure.

But if the past three weeks are any indication, it would be unwise to doubt the talent and cool temperament of Gutierrez as he leads Iíll Have Another in pursuit of racingís 12th Triple Crown.

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