Sano Racing Stables LLC’s Gunnevera hadn’t been seen in competition since finishing fifth in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico on May 20, but on Sunday returned the easiest of winners in Gulfstream Park’s $107,500 Tangelo Stakes under jockey Edgard Zayas.
Sent off the prohibitive 1-5 favorite in the 1 1/16-mile affair, Gunnevera raced wide around the first turn after breaking from his far outside post. The Antonio Sano trainee found himself in last early, angling over to the rail heading into the backstretch before coming back out again and moving up under his own power halfway down the backside.
Zayas gave the Dialed In colt some encouragement as he rounded the final turn about four wide and Gunnevera responded, effortlessly drawing off under a hand ride before being wrapped up in the lane and cruising home a five-length winner. The three-year-old chestnut stopped the clock in 1:44.30 to return $2.40 for the win, his first since taking the Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) over the track on March 4.
Front Loaded, the 7-2 second choice, followed in second while two lengths up on 31-1 longshot Manolete. Prince Tito and Arrecife completed the order under the wire after Unbridled Holiday was withdrawn.
Sano indicated before the Tangelo that Gunnevera was using the contest as a prep for the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on August 26. Prior to Sunday’s victory, the colt was tentatively scheduled to ship to Saratoga on August 18.
Gunnevera is now 12-5-2-1 in his career and has banked $1,277,200 lifetime. In addition to the Fountain of Youth, the Kentucky-bred also boasts scores in the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) and Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (G3) from his juvenile season. He placed in the Florida Derby (G1) and Holy Bull Stakes (G2) over the spring before finishing seventh in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and fifth in the Preakness.
Bred by Brandywine Farm and Stephen Upchurch, Gunnevera is out of the Unbridled mare Unbridled Rage, making him a half-brother to multiple Puerto Rican listed-placed Minstrel Queen.