Mario Gutierrez has been one of the leading riders at Hastings Race Course in Vancouver Canada since he moved there as an apprentice in 2006. He was champion jockey in 2007 and 2008 and finished second in 2009 in a season affected by injuries. Gutierrez finished fourth in the standings in 2010, but had a strong performance, winning with 26 percent of his mounts. He improved his win rate to 30 percent in 2011 and finished second in wins but led the jockeys in purse money won. Gutierrez, a native of Vera Cruz, Mexico, rides for leading owner Glen Todd at Hastings and accepted Todd's invitation to ride his horses in Southern California during the winter. Todd suggested that Gutierrez hire an agent and he began to pick up business from other trainers. Doug O'Neill gave him an opportunity to ride I'll Have Another in the Robert B. Lewis, and he delivered a victory in his first ride for the stable.
The I'll Have Another mount turned out to be a dream come true for Gutierrez. He subsequently won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) with the Flower Alley colt before guiding him to classic glory in the 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1), etching Gutierrez's name permanently in the Thoroughbred racing record books. I'll Have Another then outdueled Bodemeister to win the Preakness Stakes (G1) and earn a shot at the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes (G1) but his bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978 was foiled by an injury before the Belmont.