VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Hundreds of people will gather around televisions at Hastings Racecourse to watch local jockey Mario Gutierrez attempt to win the Preakness.

Today’s race is the second leg of the Triple Crown after Gutierrez won the Kentucky Derby in early May.

Hastings General Manager Raj Mutti says over the past 10 years or so, the sport of horse racing has fallen off the radar for many.

“Racing was always kind of known as an older person sport. Over the last five years or so, we’ve put in some different marketing plans and we’ve been really marketing to a newer, younger demographic.”

Mutti adds in the last two weeks the track has had tons of interest, partially thanks to Gutierrez.

“The first four weeks of our racing season before Mario won, we were seeing those positive trends again in 2012. With Mario winning the Derby, it’s leading into bigger and better things.”

He notes that when the jockey was in town recently, he was calm, cool and collected and believes he has a really good chance of winning the Preakness.

The race’s post-time is 3:18 p.m.

Annual Cloverdale Rodeo runs this weekend

Every year, thousands come to check out the barrel races and buck riding at the Cloverdale Rodeo.

Elizabeth Model with the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association says she expects more people to start getting to know horses this year, and believes it’s all thanks to Gutierrez.
“I think there’s a heightened awareness of livestock and animals and kind of the grass roots of our country. I believe it’s probably going to be followed a lot more closely than we think,” notes Model. “With the win of I’ll Have Another in the Kentucky Derby, it does increase the awareness of the rodeo.”
She welcomes newcomers to learn about rodeo subculture as it’s a unique experience that is a big part of Surrey’s history.