As the mint julep’s flowed and Cinco de Mayo cheer was plentiful, the audience at Churchill Downs was focused on I’ll Have Another’s ride to victory. The 15-1 to shot, named after the owners wife’s cookies, was ridden to victory by jockey Mario Gutierrez.
Gutierrez and his horse also rode into the history books by becoming the first horse to win coming out of the 19th post.
This was the first visit to the Kentucky Derby for the Mexican jockey. ““Like all jockeys, we all dream that one day, fortunately, I would be in the Kentucky Derby,” Gutierrez said Saturday. The jockey was masterful during all times of the race.
In spite of the 19th post spot, after the first turn I’ll Have Another was already in 6th place amongst the field of 20 horses. This incredible feat makes Gutierrez, 25, from Vera Cruz, Mexico the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby on their first try since 2004. He was discovered by owner J. Paul Reddam after winning 91 races as a novice in Canada and has been jockeying since age 14.
And of course we can’t forget the connection between the Mexican jockey and Cinco de Mayo – something owner Reddam did not forget. “There was some karma today because it was Cinco de Mayo,” Reddam said, “and we rode the Mexican rider.”
We hope Gutierrez’ and I’ll Have Another’s Cinco de Mayo luck continues to win them Triple Crown glory.