VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – He put in six years at Hastings Park, and today he returned to the Vancouver track as a Kentucky Derby winner.

Practically overnight, Mario Gutierrez became a superstar in his sport.

As a result, he has lots of adoring supporters at his home track.

Hundreds of race fans lined up to meet their newly crowned hero – many of them proud to say they watched him develop at Hastings Park.

“I watched him hone his arts and I’m very, very proud of the young man to win the Kentucky Derby” says Patti Wray, a longtime racing fan from Burnaby.

Lots of people proudly wore their “Go Mario Go” buttons.

“I thought it would be fabulous to come down here and see the man that pulled off that miracle run,” says.  Mike Robertson, who made his first trip to the track last week and his first bet was on Gutierrez.

Meanwhile, he tells The Canadian Press that he came from a poor family in Mexico but overcame the obstacle with the help of the BC track.

“If you have a dream and you follow it, and you work hard, sometimes you just need a little push and if you that, great things can happen,” he stresses.

Gutierrez moved to Vancouver at the age of 19.

He’ll be back on his winning horse I’ll Have Another next weekend at the Preakness in Maryland, looking to recreate some of magic they worked in Kentucky.