Monday Morning Message with Jason Beem March 28, 2022
A good Monday morning to you all, I hope everyone had a good weekend. Lots to talk about from the Fair Grounds card Saturday, and I did talk about that on our Monday weekend recap podcast for Twinspires, which you can listen to here. But I wanted to dedicate most of this Monday Morning Message to talking about longtime owner Glen Todd, who passed away this weekend.
If you followed racing from Hastings Park in Canada, you definitely knew about Glen. He was the perennial leading owner at the Vancouver racetrack racing under the banner North American Thoroughbred Horse Company. Glen won hundreds and hundreds of races there over the years, including several graded stakes events. In recent years, he even took over the training of his own horses and won 156 races as a conditioner, including a win in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby with Five Star General in 2019. As was often the case for Glen Todd horses, Mario Gutierrez was aboard for that mount in the British Columbia Derby.
Glen was extremely close with Mario. Glen and Mario started working together when Mario came to Hastings as a jockey at the age of 19. Glen and Mario forged a friendship that lasted all the way until Glen’s passing on Saturday night. They won hundreds of races together at Hastings and elsewhere. Early in Mario’s career he would even come down to Portland Meadows some and ride stakes horses for Glen when he would send them down there. Even in recent years, Mario would return to the Pacific Northwest from his California base to ride horses for Glen at Hastings or Emerald Downs. They teamed up to win the 2012 Longacres Mile with Taylor Said at Emerald Downs, which was a big moment for both jockey and owner.
I had the good fortune to have breakfast on a few occasions with Glen and Mario up at Hastings Park, as for several years I made the trip up each summer to Vancouver for the British Columbia Derby. They had a free breakfast each year for the Derby, and if there’s a free breakfast around, your boy is going there.
Glen and Mario were at first glance an odd couple to be such close friends. A young man from Mexico and an older man from Vancouver, Canada. But sitting with them and having conversation with them both, they were true friends. On Twitter, Glen always referred to Mario as his No. 1 son.
Glen was a giant of racing in Vancouver, and even gave the track an interest-free loan to keep racing going last year after the COVID-19 shutdown had depleted the purse account. His passing is a major loss for racing in Western Canada.
So not long after hearing of Glen’s passing on Sunday, I tuned in to watch the Sunland Derby. Gutierrez was on the favorite Slow Down Andy, and even though they were part of a pretty dramatic early speed battle, they dug in to win the race and earn themselves points to get into the Kentucky Derby, a race Mario has won twice.
After the race, Mario was interviewed on the in-house broadcast and you could tell he was already emotional. After the last question, he pulled out a necklace from underneath his silks and held it, and told the reporter “I lost someone close to me last night up in Vancouver. I like to think he was watching over me from above today.” It was a painfully beautiful moment to hear him mention Glen and see the grief in his eyes and hear it in his voice. Two longtime friends from different countries and different generations, brought together through our great game to forge a great business relationship and friendship that lasted well over a decade.
Rest in Peace, Glen Todd.