The Hartack Memorial Award Recipients
Mario Gutierrez, 2013 & 2017 Recipient
Mario Gutierrez was born in 1987 in Veracruz, Mexico. The son of a jockey, he began riding horses at the age of 6. By 14, Gutierrez was riding quarter horses for his father, Mario Sr., in El Higo and Mexico City. In 2006, 19-year-old Gutierrez was discovered by thoroughbred owner Glen Todd and horse trainer Troy Taylor, and they convinced young Gutierrez to move to Vancouver, Canada to ride at Hastings Racecourse.
Continuing to prove his talent as a young rider, Gutierrez won riding titles at Hastings Racecourse in 2007 and 2008. Six years into Mario’s career, Todd and Taylor navigated to Santa Anita Park in Los Angeles with Gutierrez as their main rider. Gutierrez was spotted by owner Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill. They were impressed with his riding ability, and believed Mario’s skills as a jockey were a perfect match to the outstanding colt, I’ll Have Another.
Mario piloted the 43-1 long shot I’ll Have Another to a thrilling victory in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The victories and chemistry between horse and jockey continued with wins in the 2012 Santa Anita Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Preakness Stakes.
When speaking of Gutierrez, mentor Glenn Todd said, “He was born to be a jockey, he really was. He sits a horse properly. He’s got great hands. He has a great sense of timing. He’s gifted.”