Multiple Grade 2 stakes winner Gunnevera tuned up for a scheduled start in the Aug. 26 Travers Stakes (G1) with a sharp five-furlong breeze in 1:00 Friday morning at Gulfstream Park West.
“He went very good. He was very relaxed, and came back very well,” trainer Antonio Sano said. “I hope to win the Travers.”
Gunnevera is scheduled to ship by van to Saratoga at 10 p.m. Friday. The son of Dialed In captured the Saratoga Special (G2) at the Upstate New York racetrack last summer.
Jockey Edgard Zayas was aboard for the workout, the fastest of four at the distance, and has been named to ride the Kentucky-bred colt in the Travers. The 24-year-old jockey, who notched his 1,000th career win last week, rode Gunnevera for the first time in the $ 100,000 Tangelo Stakes at Gulfstream Aug. 6. Gunnevera came from off the pace to score by five lengths in the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds.
The Tangelo was Gunnevera’s first start since finishing fifth in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico May 20. Owned by Salomon del Valle, a Venezuelan businessman, Gunnevera, who has had a history of being somewhat unsettled in the paddock, was composed throughout the saddling process and post parade prior to his recent return to action.
“He changed 100 percent, the horse. He’s very quiet, very relaxed,” said Sano, noting Gunnevera’s physical and mental maturity as he embarks on the second-season for 3-year-olds in the 1 1/.4-mile Travers.
Gunnevera broke his maiden at Gulfstream last summer in his third career start after finishing behind eventual Florida Sire Stakes champion Three Rules in his first two starts. The Kentucky-bred colt came right back to win the Saratoga Special and would close out his 2-year-old campaign with a 5 ¾-length triumph in the Delta Downs Jackpot (G3).
The Sano trainee launched his 2017 campaign with a second-place finish behind Irish War Cry in the Holy Bull (G2) at Gulfstream before closing from last to win the Fountain of Youth (G2) going away by 5 ¾ lengths. In the Florida Derby (G1), Gunnevera dropped back to last after breaking from the far-outside post position before making a strong run to finish third behind Always Dreaming before finishing seventh behind that rival in the Kentucky Derby (G1).
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2017 Paulick Report.