I’ll Have Another will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest horses of all time and according to jockey Mario Gutierrez, he will always be thankful for the opportunity to have ridden the prized race horse.
When answering questions before the Brooklyn Handicap, the young jockey made sure to express his gratitude for having had the opportunity to ride such an incredible horse.
“What I’ll Have Another did for me is amazing,” he said.
“He just brought opportunity to my life and the opportunity to share this unbelievable adventure with family and friends. … I’m just glad that I was his jockey. … I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be a part of I’ll Have Another.”
Owner Paul Reddam told reporters of Gutierrez’ reaction to the news that they would not making a run at the first Triple Crown since 1978.
“He was sad for the horse, really,” Reddam said.
“He has just had a tremendous bonding with I’ll Have Another, as everybody saw him on the track, and his concern was 100% for the welfare of the horse, and he expressed in the end no disappointment for him not getting a chance to run in the Belmont. He’s just glad the horse is OK.”
After having his horse scratched from the Belmont Stakes and retired shortly after, Gutierrez was left only with the Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park in a race that trainer Doug O’Neil hoped would prepare him for the main race at Belmont.
Finishing seventh in the Brooklyn Handicap with horse Boxeur des Rues, Gutierrez assured his fans that he would continue to work hard regardless of the horse.
“I’m going to keep working as hard as I can. I don’t want anybody to hand anything to me,” said Gutierrez.
Mario Gutierrez will ride I’ll Have Another one last time at a ceremonial retirement parade at the Belmont Stakes on Saturday afternoon.