The 143 Kentucky Derby is restricted to only 20 Kentucky Derby runners and will run on Saturday, May 6, 2017, for the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Here is the latest look at Gunnevera, one of the contenders for the 2017 Kentucky Derby to be run at Churchill Downs.
Owner: Peacock Racing Stables LLC
Trainer: Antonio Sano
Pedigree: Dialed In – Unbridled Rage by Unbridled
Last Race Result: 3rd Place, Florida Derby, 4/1/17
Had Gunnevera won the Florida Derby, he would be the undisputed favorite to win the Kentucky Derby as we speak. Instead, he was a dismal third behind a couple relative unknown horses. He's still one of the chalks at +700, but that doesn't mean he won't ultimately be a favorite when push comes to shove. The cream generally rises to the top by the end of the Road to the Kentucky Derby, and though Gunnevera finished with just 20 points at the Florida Derby, he's got 62 in totality and would have been in the field even if he didn't run in the last of the Gulfstream Park races of the year.
Gunnevera is a big time closer, and that should play into his hands in a field that is shaping up to be both relatively weak and relatively fast out of the gates. There are a heck of a lot of stalkers and frontrunners, and that should suit him well. In the Fountain of Youth Stakes, Gunnevera got a respectable start and was clear at the back of the pack where he wanted to be. His coast stayed clear throughout, and though he had to run a little bit longer of a race on the far outside, he romped to an easy win when push came to shove.
The difference between the Fountain of Youth and the Florida Derby was really the start. Gunnevera didn't get a good break at all from a far outside post, and he was probably a lot farther back than Javier Castellano would have wanted. It took a little more energy to keep up in the beginning stages of the race, and though Gunnevera was the best horse at the end, there wasn't enough time for him to get all the way to the top.
The bad start against a small field at the Florida Derby is a bit concerning. This field is double in size of that one, and though Gunnevera will do nothing but drop straight back, just how far back is he going to have to be in order to be clear and not get dirt in his face? One false move or one horse boxing him in just a bit in his march up the leaderboard, and Gunnevera will have a good shot to not even remotely contend.
The other big concern if you're betting on Gunnevera is that trainer Antonio Sano is just a local trainer and has never been on this big of a stage before with a horse. The Kentucky Derby isn't always about the biggest trainers, but generally speaking, the unknowns don't end up finding the winners circle.
On the bright side of things though, Gunnevera has consistently been incredibly fast. He's had a few really good training sessions under his belt in the lead up to his Spring races, and his 102 Beyer Speed Rating in the Fountain of Youth was one of the better a colt has run to this point in this seemingly relatively weak three-year old class.
The other big setback involving Gunnevera came in the Breeders' Cup Futurity when he finished fifth best and never factored. He's only been a huge favorite twice in his career, first in a maiden race, then again in the Florida Derby, and the fact that he failed in the latter is a concern. Is he good enough to win the Kentucky Derby? Probably. But is his price going to end up warranting playing him to win? Maybe not so much.
With a maximum of 20 horses accepted into the Kentucky Derby field, there is a significant vetting process to qualify the horses among this group of three-year olds. A points system is in place to reward winners and other top finishers of the main races leading into the Derby. The Top 20 horses will get the first opportunity to run in the Kentucky Derby, though as horses bow out of the process, the next ones in the standings are given their chances until the field of 20 is set.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby wraps up the second week of April, thus ending a grueling stretch of eight months of qualifying for the top colts in the world. The field won't be finalized until the Kentucky Derby post draw on Wednesday, May 3.
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Below are some of the contenders that will possibly run the day of the race. There are 20 Derby Contenders for the race but these are the most likely ones will be confirmed a place at the event.
|Rank||Horse||Points||Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings||Graded Stakes Earnings||Breeder||Trainer||Owner|
|1||Girvin||150||$840,000||$840,000||Bob Austin & John Witte||Joe Sharp||Brad Grady|
|2||Gormley||125||$884,000||$884,000||Castleton Lyons & Kilboy Estate||John Shirreffs||Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S.|
|3||Irish War Cry||110||$676,660||$616,660||Isabelle de Tomaso||H. Motion||Isabelle de Tomaso|
|4||Irap||108||$760,000||$738,000||Aaron & Marie Jones||Doug O'Neill||Reddam Racing LLC|
|5||Always Dreaming||100||$589,000||$589,000||Santa Rosa Partners||Todd Pletcher||St Elias, Teresa Viola Racing Stables, Brooklyn Boys, MEB Stables|
|6||Gunnevera||84||$1,137,800||$1,134,200||Brandywine Farm & Stephen Upchurch||Antonio Sano||Peacock Racing Stables, LLC|
|7||Practical Joke||74||$966,000||$966,000||Whispering Oaks||Chad Brown||Klaravich Stables, Inc. and Lawrence, William H.|
|8||J Boys Echo||63||$305,000||$305,000||Betz, Blackburn, J. Betz, Ramsby, CNHHNK||Dale Romans||Albaugh Family Stables LLC|
|9||State of Honor||62||$310,364||$280,000||Manfred Conrad & Penny Conrad||Mark Casse||Conrad Farms|
|10||Mastery||60||$480,000||$480,000||Stone Farm||Bob Baffert||Cheyenne Stables LLC|
|11||Tapwrit||54||$325,570||$280,000||My Meadowview LLC||Todd Pletcher||Bridlewood Farm, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and LaPenta, Robert V.|
|12||Epicharis (JPN)||50||$753,381||$400,000||Masatsugu Kamada||Kiyoshi Hagiwara||Carrot Farm|
|13||Malagacy||50||$540,000||$540,000||John Trumbulovic||Todd Pletcher||Sumaya U.S. Stable|
|14||McCraken||40||$385,048||$335,320||Whitham Thoroughbreds, LLC||Ian Wilkes||Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC|
|15||Battle of Midway||40||$224,000||$224,000||Thor-Bred Stables, LLC||Jerry Hollendorfer||Fox Hill Farms, Inc.|
|16||Patch||40||$200,000||$200,000||Calumet Farm||Todd Pletcher||Calumet Farm|
|17||Battalion Runner||40||$140,000||$140,000||Dell Ridge Farm, LLC||Todd Pletcher||St. Elias Stable|
|18||Cloud Computing||40||$135,000||$135,000||Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc & Stretch Run Ventures, LLC||Chad Brown||Klaravich Stables, Inc. and Lawrence, William H.|
|19||Mont Saint Legame (JPN)||40||$0||$0||Kawashima Bokujo||Koji Maki||Shinichi Yamashita|
|20||Untrapped||34||$210,000||$210,000||Indian Creek & Jonathan Sheppard||Steven Asmussen||Michael Langford|
|21||Classic Empire||32||$1,493,820||$1,493,820||Steven Nicholson & Brandi Nicholson||Mark Casse||John C. Oxley|
|22||El Areeb||30||$330,000||$270,000||Dixiana Farms LLC||Cathal Lynch||M M G Stables, LLC|
|23||Royal Mo||30||$213,000||$213,000||Brandywine Farm||John Shirreffs||Moss, Mr. and Mrs. Jerome S.|
|24||Local Hero||30||$140,000||$140,000||Three Chimneys Farm LLC||Steven Asmussen||e Five Racing Thoroughbreds|
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