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Meet the Victor grad racing in the Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is currently underway at Churchill Downs. The local community has an extra reason to cheer this time around as a Victor graduate competes in the country’s most prestigious horse race.

Reylu Gutierrez, 26, didn’t always plan on becoming a jockey. He graduated from Victor Senior High School in 2013 and went on to earn a degree in exercise science from SUNY Cortland. After graduating, Gutierrez was faced with student loan debt and wondered how he would pay it off.

“A friend suggested I look into the horses,” said Guiterrez, according to Democrat & Chronicle.

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From hometown to the Downs

For Gutierrez, horse racing runs in the family. After graduating college a semester early, Gutierrez returned to his home in Farmington and trained at the Finger Lakes Gaming and Race Track. His father, a retired jockey, was a big part of the training that propelled Gutierrez towards success.

Gutierrez has 440 first-place wins thus far in his career. He has participated in a number of prestigious races, including the Belmont Stakes and the Breeders Cup World Championships. He was presented with the opportunity to race in the Kentucky Derby by his agent Jose Sanchez Jr.

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Kentucky Derby taking place right now

The Kentucky Derby runs from Friday, May 5 to Saturday, May 6. Gutierrez will ride on a Kentucky-bred horse named Barber Road.

After the race, Gutierrez looks forward to competing in the 148th annual Run for the Roses and relaxing on Park Ave in Rochester.

“I need to get home. I got a love for Rochester. I love going back,” he said.

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