Gunnevera Career Statistics
Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings: $1,137,800
Owner: Peacock Racing Stables
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Jockey: Javier Castellano
Pedigree: Dialed In – Unbridled Rage, by Unbridled
Recent Finish: 7th, Kentucky Derby, G1 (5/6/17)
Notable Wins: Fountain of Youth, G2 (3/4/17), Delta Downs Jackpot, G3 (11/19/16)
Gunnevera finished 7th in the Kentucky Derby and was unable to fire down the lane following a less than favorable trip. But the impressive Fountain of Youth winner came out of the Derby in good shape, and his trainer Antonio Sano says he is “sound” and will be ready for a better run in the Preakness. Gunnevera jogged 2 miles over the Churchill track following the Derby and came off the track “bouncing” according to Sano. In his final work Wednesday morning at Pimlico, Gunnevera tacked on an additional 3 furlongs to his 1 1/8 mile gallop. Sano was very pleased with what he saw and believes Gunnevera‘s easy run and strong finish suggests he likes the track and surface.
Traditionally, this track is considered to be faster than Churchill Downs. Although both courses use the same dirt, Pimlico’s surface is firmer which allows horses to get better traction. Gunnevera will get a more favorable trip in the Preakness, and not deal with rain or a wet and sloppy track. He’ll likely be in better position to make a move at the leaders down the stretch. Recall Gunnevera was the 6-5 favorite in the Florida Derby, but had a terrible outside post draw at Gulfstream, where it’s most difficult to be positioned properly with the short run to the first turn. He couldn’t catch Always Dreaming that day or in the Derby, but Gunnevera’s combination of speed and closing ability makes him a contender at a favorable price in the Preakness.
With less front-running speed in this year’s Preakness, Gunnevera should be able to sit closer to the leaders. He’s a late runner, but at Pimlico, and especially in this race, you’ve got to have your position to the quarter pole. So Gunnevera will need to be a lot closer to the front than he was in the Derby.
Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith will take over and ride Gunnevera in the Preakness with regular rider Javier Castellano switching to Cloud Computing for major client and trainer Chad Brown.