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“He’s doing great. He’s doing very, very good. Great head on himself,” jockey Johnny Velasquez said. “Enjoy it. Enjoy the moment.”

Gutierrez is enjoying it, though without the slightest hint of ego, even on the verge of making history.

Mr. Reddam and Doug, I got family coming from Veracruz when I grew up. … Those are the people that saw me when I didn’t have anything,” he said. “These kind of people, they keep believing in me. They put so much confidence on me. It’s just great to have those people. I’m feeling really lucky. I don’t want them to go ever away. I want to keep them forever.”