It's tough to be a narrative in the 2012 Belmont Stakes. The sheer din of the Triple Crown tends to drown out most other storylines going into its final race, and this year's, with I'll Have Another a win away from becoming the first horse since Affirmed to win the Triple Crown, is no exception. But if sportswriters were looking for a narrative to hammer into our heads over the next week or so, they could do worse than I'll Have Another's jockey, 25-year-old Mark Gutierrez, whose inexperience has become a bone of contention among horse-racing insiders.
The Daily Racing Form caught up with Steve Cauthen, who piloted Affirmed for his Triple Crown run back in 1978, for a particularly experienced perspective on the matter—Cauthen was all of 18 when he pulled it off, and has nearly tripled his lifespan since, though he had a significantly longer track record than Gutierrez at the time.
For his part, he isn't worried about the current Triple Crown contender's mindset. It's always good to hear a retired athlete do something other than bemoan how things have declined since the good old days.
More 2012 Belmont Stakes coverage handpicked from SB Nation St. Louis:
- Meanwhile, in the present, it seems like horses speak human sports cliche as well as we do.
- For what it's worth, the oddsmakers don't seem too worried about Mario Gutierrez, either.