The 2017 Classic at the Breeders’ Cup is going to be another thriller with tons of top end competition looking to crash the winner’s circle. One such entrant looking to play spoiler will be Gunnevera, the three-year-old colt who last finished 3 1/2 lengths behind West Coast in the 2017 Travers Stakes. His connections are confident that he can compete at the higher levels.
Going 3-1-0 in six starts during his juvenile season, Gunnevera caught the attention of many as he won both the 2016 Breeders’ Futurity and the 2016 Delta Downs Jackpot. Good times continued to roll in to his current season with early wins in the 2017 Fountain of Youth Stakes, but there were some open concerns.
Gunnevera wasn’t maturing at the pace that his connections were hoping for. He fell to 3rd in the Florida Derby and then finished 7th in the Kentucky Derby, well behind the mark set by Always Dreaming who won both of those races. Since then, fortunes have changed for both. Gunnevera won the Tangelo Stakes as a confidence builder towards the Travers, where he stunned the competition as a 20/1 longshot to finish as runner-up.
“He gave me a lot of confidence in him. I knew he was training really good for the Travers, but I had my question about him competing with Always Dreaming and all those horses,” jockey Edgard Zayas noted ahead of the 2017 Classic. “He definitely showed people he can compete. I have a lot of confidence in him. I know it’s going to be tough racing against older horses, but he’s always going to finish strong.”
The 2017 Classic at Del Mar will be an incredibly exciting event headlined by Arrogate, Gun Runner and 2017 Travers winner West Coast, who has appeared like the best three-year-old currently running. Gunnevera could very well be trending in the perfect direction and isn’t to be ignored like the last time he faced top flight talent.