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"Super Mario" readies for Belmont Stakes


June 6, 2012     E-mail this page to a friend!

Mario Gutierrez, jockey on I'll Have Another
(photo by ©2012 by Trevor Reynolds, courtesy of Four Footed Fotos)

Donegal's Dullahan back for third gem; Parma, Idaho's own Rousing Sermon bypasses Belmont, preps for Swaps Stakes


"Super Mario" will enjoy a few race trips around the local oval the day before he pairs up with I'll Have Another to try to capture the third gem of the Triple Crown on Saturday, June 9. Jockey Mario Gutierrez, who until this year was a top rider at Hasting Racecourse in TRJ territory, has turned heads as he coolly handled the reins in winning the first two parts of the classic U.S. race series for 3-year-old.

Hopes are high that I'll Have Another will be the first Triple Crown winner since 1978. The horse drew the #11 slot in the 12-horse field.

Gutierrez, making his first appearance at the New York track, has been named on five mounts on Friday, June 8. One of those is Boxeur des Rues, who he will ride in the Grade 2, $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap, run at the same 1-mile distance as the Belmont Stakes.

Dullahan, who finished third in the Kentucky Derby but passed up running in the Preakness, will break from the five slot under J. Castellano. Donegal Racing, owners of Dullahan, along with jockey Kent Desormeaux and trainer Dale Romans, donated 5% of the horse's Derby winnings to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund. Prairie Meadows, home base for Donegal Racing, readily agreed to match that contribution to the PDJF. (See the story in the June issue of TRJ—The Racing Journal.)

Rousing Sermon, the Parma, Idaho-reared colt who finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby, bypassed the Preakness and has also decided not to run in the Belmont. On June 1, Dan Kiser, racing manager for owners Tree Top Farms, announced that they will instead point him toward the Swaps Stakes on July 4 at Hollywood Park.