Multiple graded stakes winner Gunnevera tuned up for a scheduled start in the Aug. 26 Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) with a sharp five-furlong breeze in 1:00 at Gulfstream Park West Aug. 18.
Jockey Edgard Zayas was aboard for the workout, the fastest of four at the distance, and has been named to ride the son of Dialed In for 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 Park Aug. 6. He came from off the pace to score by five lengths in the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-olds.
"He went very good. He was very relaxed, and came back very well," Gunnevera's trainer Antonio Sano said. "I hope to win the Travers."
Gunnevera was scheduled to ship by van to Saratoga Race Course at 10 p.m. Friday. The chestnut colt captured the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) at the Spa last summer.
The Tangelo was Gunnevera's first start since finishing fifth in the May 20 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course. Owned by Sano Racing Stables, 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%, 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. He closed out his 2-year-old campaign with a 5 3/4-length triumph in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (G3).
He launched his 2017 campaign with a second-place finish behind Irish War Cry in the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream before closing from last to win the Xpressbet Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) by 5 3/4 lengths.
In the Xpressbet 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. He then finished seventh behind that rival in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1).
Bred by Brandywine Farm and Stephen Upchurch, Gunnevera has a 5-2-1 record from 12 starts with earnings of $1,277,200.