By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: Hard-working jockey agent Wayne Snow doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves for his part in the Mario Gutierrez success story. Nor does trainer Terry Jordan.
The massive effect Glen Todd and Troy Taylor have had on Mario’s career over the years has been well documented. They took the shy, 19-year-old Mexican rider under their wing to the point where Mario refers to them as his ‘second family’.
“They were always there for me, pointing me in the right direction,” Gutierrez has said time and time again.
Mario most certainly hasn’t forgotten how he arrived in Vancouver from his humble beginnings as a young rider at the Hipodromo de las Americas, his racetrack in Mexico City.
It was there where Jordan first spotted Mario and suggested to Wayne Snow in Vancouver: “there’s a little rider down here who is going to be good one day, maybe even great”.
Snow has a reputation of being tenacious when it comes to recruiting talent and successfully took on the immigration authorities to arrange for Gutierrez to conquer the hurdles facing him on the journey to land in Canada.
Upon arriving at Hastings, Mario found the adjustment extremely difficult. He didn’t speak a word of English and instantly wanted to go home.
It was through the tireless efforts of Jeannie Spence, co-founder of the Hastings Park Learning Centre, that Mario began his first ESL tutoring from Spence. The Centre was founded by the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) and is supported financially by Great Canadian Gaming Corporation.
Mario once told Vancouver Province columnist Ed Willes that he would sing along with songs in English and watched Spanish movies with English subtitles.
Snow eventually hooked Mario up with Todd and Taylor and the rest, as they say, is history.