Margoth’s Gunnevera breezed six furlongs in 1:15.20 Friday morning at Gulfstream Park West in preparation for a planned start in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.
The Antonio Sano-trained 4-year-old worked by himself under exercise rider Raul Velasquez.
“It was a nice work. We gave him a nice easy work,” said Sano, whose stretch-running son of Dialed In had previously turned in three strong five-furlong breezes in company.
Gunnevera, who ranks second on the list of alternates for the Classic, is a probable to make the field Monday, when Bravazo and City of Light are expected to be entered in the $1 million Dirt Mile (G1), listed as the first-preference for both horses in the pre-entries for the 35th Breeders’ Cup.
“It was a surprise to me. Never in my life did I think he wouldn’t be selected [into the main field],” Sano said.
Gunnevera, who finished in a dead-heat for fifth with Arrogate in last year’s Classic at Del Mar, started his 2018 campaign with a third-place finish behind Gun Runner and West Coast in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream in January. Two months later, he finished eighth in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1), in which he sustained a nasty hoof injury that sent him to the sidelines for five months. Gunnevera has returned to action as good as ever, capturing an Aug. 10 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park by 6 ½ lengths before finishing second behind Yoshida in the $750,000 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga in his most recent start Sept. 1, closing from 11th with a six-wide rally.
“My horse is doing good. He has a chance to win. The mile and a quarter is good for him,” Sano said.
Irad Ortiz Jr. is scheduled to ride Gunnevera for the first time in the Classic.
Gunnevera is scheduled to leave for Churchill Downs by van at 7 p.m. Friday.
Kathleen O’Connell-trained Well Defined, the easy winner of the $400,000 FSS In Reality last time out, and Stormy Embrace, the winner of the ‘Win and You’re In’ Princess Rooney (G2) on the June 30 Summit of Speed card, arrived at Churchill Downs Friday morning for scheduled starts in the $2 million Juvenile (G1) Nov. 2 and the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) Nov. 3, respectively.
“They just arrived this morning. Everything seems to be good,” said O’Connell, who will join her Breeders’ Cup candidates at Churchill Sunday.
Stanley Gold-trained Cookie Dough, the winner of the $400,000 FSS My Dear Girl last time out, was also scheduled to leave for Churchill Downs Friday for a scheduled start in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 2. Georgina Baxter-trained Pay Any Price, the first-alternate for the $1 million Turf Sprint (G1) Nov. 3, was also slated to depart Gulfstream Park Friday.
David Fawkes-trained Louder Than Bombs, who captured the Armed Forces Stakes over the Gulfstream turf course last time out, breezed a half-mile in 47.02 seconds at Gulfstream Friday morning. The 2-year-old son of Violence, who posted the fastest of 31 recorded at the distance, is the second alternate for the $1 million Juvenile Turf (G1) Nov. 2.