Gunnevera is proving to be one of the biggest bargains on the road to the 2017 Kentucky Derby.
Purchased for $16,000 by Peacock Racing Stables at the 2015 Keeneland September Sale, the 3-year-old colt has quickly amassed more than a million dollars in earnings in eight career starts.
Gunnevera will attempt to add to his bankroll Saturday when he takes on a field of 10 others in the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
Gunnevera was installed Wednesday as the 9-5 morning-line favorite for the 1 1/8 -mile Kentucky Derby prep race, which is worth 100 points to the winner.
Gunnevera, who will run from outside post position No. 11, is already a Kentucky Derby shoo-in, having compiled 64 points. The Antonio Sano trainee won the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot in November, finished second in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream in February, then further solidified his standing with an impressive 5 3/4 -lengths victory in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream.
Testing Gunnevera on Saturday will be 3-1 second choice Battalion Runner, who will be making just his fourth career start and his first attempt at a stakes race. The Todd Pletcher trainee won races at Gulfstream on Dec. 31 and Feb. 3 in preparation for Saturday.
Always Dreaming, the 4-1 third choice also trained by Pletcher, is also lightly raced — four career starts — but coming off back-to-back non-stakes victories.
Checking in at 8-1 are Mark Casse’s State of Honor, who was runner-up in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby last time out, and Jose Pinchin-trained Three Rules, who was most recently third in the Fountain of Youth.
What: Kentucky Derby prep points race (100-40-20-10)
Where: Gulfstream Park
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Purse: $1 million (Grade 1)
Favorite: Gunnevera (9-5)
Florida Derby field
1 State of Honor (8-1)
2 Talk Logistics (30-1)
3 Charlie the Greek (50-1)
4 Always Dreaming (4-1)
5 Quinientos (50-1)
6 Coleman Rocky (30-1)
7 Unbridled Holiday (30-1)
8 Impressive Edge (12-1)
9 Battalion Runner (3-1)
10 Three Rules (8-1)
11 Gunnevera (9-5)