NEW YORK (AP) — Mario Gutierrez will always be indebted to I'll Have Another for providing him the ride of a lifetime.

Twice.

With Gutierrez secure and confident in the saddle, I'll Have Another galloped to thrilling victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. On each occasion, the strapping chestnut colt responded to the jockey's deft guidance by charging from the middle of the pack and overtaking Bodemeister with a brilliant stretch run.

Gutierrez and I'll Have Another were poised to make history together in the Belmont Stakes. And then, suddenly and shockingly, their symbiotic pairing was done in by a swollen tendon.

I'll Have Another's bid to become the first Triple Crown winner since 1978 ended Friday when owner Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O'Neill discovered the horse had developed tendinitis in his left front leg. They promptly scratched the horse from the Belmont and put him into retirement.

The news was devastating to Gutierrez, and it had nothing to do with missing an opportunity to put his name in the record books. Instead of cursing his luck, he expressed genuine gratification for being given the opportunity to be a part of something so grand.

"He hasn't done anything but give me all this happiness and all this success," Gutierrez said. "This just comes once in a lifetime. I feel the luckiest guy in the world to be a part of I'll Have Another."


Loading Slideshow...
  • I'll Have Another

    Trainer Doug O'Neil looks on as I'll Have Another grazes after a press conference outside of barn two on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Trainer Doug O'Neil stands with I'll Have Another after a press conference outside of barn two on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Trainer Doug O'Neil walks with I'll Have Another during a press conference outside of barn two on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    The hooves of I'll Have Another are seen outside of barn two on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Exercise rider Jonny Garcia takes Triple Crown hopefull I'll Have Another over the track in preparation for the 144th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 7, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Doug O'Neill, trainer of Triple Crown Hopefull I'll Have Another places on a cover after a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 7, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Triple Crown Hopefull I'll Have Another is bathed with exercise rider Jonny Garcia looking on after a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 7, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Triple Crown hopefull I'll Have Another walks the track with exercise rider Jonny Garcia and Stable Pony Lava Man during a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 5, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Triple Crown hopefull I'll Have Another is ridden by exercise riderJonny Garcia during a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 2, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Triple Crown hopefull I'll Have Another is ridden by exercise riderJonny Garcia during a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 2, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Kentucky Derby, and Preakness winner I'll Have Another is walked in his barn at Belmont Park on May 21, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another edges out Bodemeister riden by Mike Smith to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Jockey Mario Gutierrez celebrates in the winners circle after riding I'll Have Another to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another edges out Bodemeister riden by Mike Smith to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another edges out Bodemeister riden by Mike Smith to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another (L) edges out Bodemeister (R) ridden by Mike Smith to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Jockey Mike Smith aboard Bodemeister (R) leads the field and jockey Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another (L) out of the fourth turn during the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another ridden by Mario Gutierrez comes ahead at the finish to beat Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, crosses the finish line ahead of Boedmeister, ridden by Mike Smith, to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Jockey Mike Smith aboard Bodemeister (R) leads the field and jockey Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another (L) out of the fourth turn during the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another #9 ridden by Mario Gutierrez beats Bodemeister #7 ridden by Mike E. Smith at the finish line to win the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another ridden by Mario Gutierrez crosses the finish line to win the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez is congratulated by Dennis O'Neill after riding I'll Have Another to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Exercise rider Jonny Garcia takes I'll Have Another over the track in preparation for the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 17, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Exercise rider Jonny Garcia walks I'll Have Another to the track in preparation for the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 16, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez (L) atop I'll Have Another is led to the starters gate before the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez (L) comes down the final stretch atop I'll Have Another ahead of Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith (R) during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez (L) comes down the final stretch atop I'll Have Another ahead of Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith (R) during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez seen in purple silks atop I'll Have Another comes down the front stretch at start of the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez seen in purple silks atop I'll Have Another (4th R) and the field take the first turn during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez celebrates atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez smiles atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez celebrates atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another ridden by Mario Gutierrez leads the pack down the final stretch during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Jockey Mario Guitierrez aboard I'll Have Another reacts as an outrider escorts him to the winners circle after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez celebrates atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez (L) comes down the final stretch atop I'll Have Another ahead of Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez celebrates atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez celebrates atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another trains in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another is led over the track in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.


Before O'Neill gave Gutierrez the opportunity to ride I'll Have Another, the 25-year-old jockey raced aboard thousands of thoroughbreds in Mexico and Canada. He will no doubt ride thousands more. But there will only be one I'll Have Another.


Fortunately, Gutierrez will get one more chance to settle into the saddle of his new best friend. Instead of riding I'll Have Another in the Belmont on Saturday, he will climb aboard one final time to lead the post parade before the race.


Gutierrez will then watch the race instead of competing in it. He won't be bitter about it, either.


"He was sad for the horse. Really," Reddam said. "He has just had a tremendous bonding with I'll Have Another, and his concern was 100 percent for the welfare of the horse. He expressed no disappointment for not getting the chance to run in the Belmont."


Mostly because riding I'll Have Another was a life-changing experience.


"I'll Have Another, for me, is amazing," Gutierrez said. "He just brought happiness to my life and the opportunity to share this unbelievable adventure with family and friends. He'll be my hero forever. I'm just glad that I was his jockey."


After learning of the horse's retirement, Gutierrez rode in five races at Belmont Park, most notably the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap aboard Boxeur des Rues, owned by Reddam and trained O'Neill. The Brooklyn was to be Gutierrez's first test at 1 1/2 miles, the same distance as the Belmont.


It didn't matter that his horse finished seventh, because it wasn't a tuneup for the Belmont after all.


After he dismounted and headed toward the jockey quarters, Gutierrez was mobbed by reporters and cameramen seeking to get his take on this cruel twist of fate.


He expressed hope that he could somehow experience success — if not the same level of happiness — aboard other horses.


"I'm going to keep working hard," Gutierrez said. "I don't want anybody to give me anything that I don't deserve."

Loading Slideshow...
  • I'll Have Another

    Trainer Doug O'Neil looks on as I'll Have Another grazes after a press conference outside of barn two on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Trainer Doug O'Neil stands with I'll Have Another after a press conference outside of barn two on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Trainer Doug O'Neil walks with I'll Have Another during a press conference outside of barn two on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    The hooves of I'll Have Another are seen outside of barn two on June 8, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Exercise rider Jonny Garcia takes Triple Crown hopefull I'll Have Another over the track in preparation for the 144th Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 7, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Doug O'Neill, trainer of Triple Crown Hopefull I'll Have Another places on a cover after a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 7, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Triple Crown Hopefull I'll Have Another is bathed with exercise rider Jonny Garcia looking on after a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 7, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Triple Crown hopefull I'll Have Another walks the track with exercise rider Jonny Garcia and Stable Pony Lava Man during a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 5, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Triple Crown hopefull I'll Have Another is ridden by exercise riderJonny Garcia during a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 2, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Triple Crown hopefull I'll Have Another is ridden by exercise riderJonny Garcia during a morning workout at Belmont Park on June 2, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Kentucky Derby, and Preakness winner I'll Have Another is walked in his barn at Belmont Park on May 21, 2012 in Elmont, New York.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another edges out Bodemeister riden by Mike Smith to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Jockey Mario Gutierrez celebrates in the winners circle after riding I'll Have Another to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another edges out Bodemeister riden by Mike Smith to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another edges out Bodemeister riden by Mike Smith to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another (L) edges out Bodemeister (R) ridden by Mike Smith to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Jockey Mike Smith aboard Bodemeister (R) leads the field and jockey Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another (L) out of the fourth turn during the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another ridden by Mario Gutierrez comes ahead at the finish to beat Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, crosses the finish line ahead of Boedmeister, ridden by Mike Smith, to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Jockey Mike Smith aboard Bodemeister (R) leads the field and jockey Mario Gutierrez on I'll Have Another (L) out of the fourth turn during the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another #9 ridden by Mario Gutierrez beats Bodemeister #7 ridden by Mike E. Smith at the finish line to win the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another ridden by Mario Gutierrez crosses the finish line to win the 137th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez is congratulated by Dennis O'Neill after riding I'll Have Another to win the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 19, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Exercise rider Jonny Garcia takes I'll Have Another over the track in preparation for the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 17, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Exercise rider Jonny Garcia walks I'll Have Another to the track in preparation for the 137th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on May 16, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez (L) atop I'll Have Another is led to the starters gate before the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez (L) comes down the final stretch atop I'll Have Another ahead of Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith (R) during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez (L) comes down the final stretch atop I'll Have Another ahead of Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith (R) during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez seen in purple silks atop I'll Have Another comes down the front stretch at start of the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez seen in purple silks atop I'll Have Another (4th R) and the field take the first turn during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez celebrates atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez smiles atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez celebrates atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another ridden by Mario Gutierrez leads the pack down the final stretch during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Jockey Mario Guitierrez aboard I'll Have Another reacts as an outrider escorts him to the winners circle after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez celebrates atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez (L) comes down the final stretch atop I'll Have Another ahead of Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith during the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez celebrates atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby ahead of Bodemeister ridden by Mike Smith at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    Mario Gutierrez celebrates atop I'll Have Another after winning the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another trains in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 3, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.

  • I'll Have Another

    I'll Have Another is led over the track in preparation for the 138th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.