Jockey Mario Gutierrez could seemingly do nothing wrong Oct. 16 at Santa Anita Park.
The 29-year-old jockey won on all five of his mounts Friday afternoon and took five of the first six races at the Arcadia, Calif., track. All of his victories came for different trainers.
Gutierrez was awarded a victory in the fifth race aboard Woodford Thoroughbreds’ Sleepwalker—when One of the Greats was disqualified after drifting out drastically coming out of the turn in a maiden special weight event on the downhill turf course—but crossed the wire first in every other win.
The first came in the day’s opener aboard the Pinner Family Trust’s Stealth Drone in a six-furlong claiming race, when the daughter of Smoke Glacken stalked early and pulled clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths. The final score came by a nose, when Gutierrez willed Light Striker to victory in a 1 1/16-mile starter allowance.
The biggest price of the five winners came from Reddam Racing’s Frank Conversation ($19.60), who took another maiden special weight event down the hill by 1 1/4 lengths. The widest margin was Lily Pod, who topped a field of six by 3 1/2 lengths in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race.
“It feels great,” Gutierrez said. “I’ve had to rebuild my career from the ground up since I won the Kentucky Derby (gr. I, with I’ll Have Another) and it has been a lot of hard work. It has been one step at a time, and my biggest step was marrying a very special woman in January. (Rebecca is) my biggest support system. I think that’s what did it. It makes me push hard.
“I’ve won five races before at Hastings (Racecourse) but never five out the first six races in a day. This is really, really great.”
The five-win day moves his total for Santa Anita’s fall meet to 10, good for second in the jockey standings, six behind leading rider Rafael Bejarano. He’s also expected to have two mounts in the upcoming Breeders’ Cup, with undefeated Nyquist (Sentient Jet Juvenile) and Land Over Sea (Juvenile Fillies), both Reddam runners trained by Doug O’Neill.