Breeders' Cup 2021: Trainer Fausto Gutierrez
Trainer Fausto Gutierrez may not have been a household name among American horse racing fans until Letruska's dominant 2021 season, but he has long had stars on his shedrow.
Gutierrez has been training for Letruska's owner-breeder Cuadra San Jorge (St. George Stable) since 1986. Gutierrez has been dominant in his native Mexico, winning ten consecutive champion trainer titles at Hipódromo de las Américas in Mexico City. He trained two of the only eight Mexican Triple Crown winners in history: Huitlacoche (2015) and Kukulkan (2018).
Gutierrez's star Kukulkan also went on to win the Clásico del Caribe later that year. A highlight of international horse racing, the race is open to three-year-olds bred in a Caribbean Confraternity country. The filly Jala Jala also won the Clásico del Caribe for Gutierrez in 2017, and returned on Clásico del Caribe day in 2018 to win the Copa Confraternidad del Caribe, open to horses aged three and up bred in a Caribbean Confraternity country.
Both also owned by Cuadra San Jorge, Jala Jala and Kukulkan were Gutierrez's first horses to make noise in graded races in the United States. Jala Jala was first, finishing a game second behind Blamed in the Royal Delta (G3) in February 2019. Kukulkan followed. Though he was defeated in the 2019 Pegasus World Cup (G1), he went on to win a stakes-quality allowance at Churchill Down that May and in ran a close second to Silver Dust in the West Virginia Governor's Stakes (G3) that August.
Though the current incarnation of Fausto Gutierrez's United States division only dates back to 2019, it was not his first time here. With Hipódromo de las Américas closed for several years in the late 1990s, Gutierrez raced a string of horses at Retama, Lone Star, and Sam Houston in 1998 and 1999. He won 20 races over that time and notched his first American stakes placing when Tere Mi Amor ran third in the 1998 Tomball Stakes at Sam Houston.
Gutierrez has reached new heights with Letruska. Her career started much like Jala Jala's and Kukulkan's: she won her first six starts in Mexico before romping in the 2019 Copa Invitacional del Caribe, for horses aged three and up who were imported to Caribbean Confraternity countries. She became Gutierrez's first American graded winner when she wired the 2020 Shuvee (G3) at Saratoga. She became his first G1 winner by international cataloging standards when she nosed out the great Monomoy Girl in the 2021 Apple Blossom (G1).
Now, as the likely Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) favorite, Letruska has a chance to achieve another first for Gutierrez.