HALLANDALE BEACH - Multiple graded stakes-winner Gunnevera heads a strong Gulfstream Park contingent pre-entered for the 35th Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs Nov. 2-3.
The Antonio Sano-trained Gunnevera, who has earned more than $3 million during an 18-race career than includes great success at Gulfstream, was among the pre-entries announced Wednesday for the $6 million Classic. The 4-year-old son of Dialed In, who finished second in the Woodward at Saratoga last time out, finished third in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and won an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream this year. The stretch-running colt captured the Fountain of Youth last year.
Gunnevera, who is listed second on the list of alternates, is expected to draw into the Classic field since two horses above him – City of Light and Bravazo – both have first-preference for the $1 million Dirt Mile.
Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount aboard Gunnevera. The Classic field of pre-entries includes four other participants in the Pegasus World Cup – runner-up West Coast, Collected, Seeking the Soul and Toast of New York. Catholic Boy, who finished fourth in the Florida Derby before going on to win the Travers at Saratoga, was also pre-entered in the Classic. Mind Your Biscuits, who was the runner-up in an optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream before defending his title in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, was also pre-entered in the Classic, as well as the $2 million Sprint.
Stormy Embrace, Well Defined, Cookie Dough and Pay Any Price, all South Florida-based stakes-winners during Gulfstream’s Spring/Summer Meet, were also pre-entered in various Breeders’ Cup stakes.
Trainer Kathleen O’Connell pre-entered Stormy Embrace in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint and Well Defined in the $2 million Juvenile.
Matalona Thoroughbreds’ Stormy Embrace captured the $250,000 Princess Rooney, a seven-furlong ‘Win & You’re In’ sprint on the June 30 Summit of Speed program. Stonehedge LLC’s Well Defined registered a dominating 7 ½-length victory in the $400,000 In Reality, the 1 1/16-mile finale of the Florida Sire Stakes series Sept. 29. Trainer Juan Avila’s Trophy Chaser, who broke his maiden at Gulfstream by 15 ¾ lengths on Aug. 25 before finishing fifth in the Champagne at Belmont, was also pre-entered in the Juvenile.
Stanley Gold-trained Cookie Dough was pre-entered in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies. The Arindel homebred, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00.10 Tuesday, overcame traffic to capture the $400,000 FSS My Dear Girl at 1 1/16 miles by 7 ½ lengths. Gold saddled Awesome Feather for a triumph in the 2010 Juvenile Fillies.
Pay Any Price, who breezed a half-mile Wednesday morning in 49.97 seconds for trainer Georgina Baxter, was pre-entered in the $1 million Turf Sprint. The 8-year-old gelded son of Wildcat Heir, who is owned by Averill Racing and Matties Racing Stable, won four turf sprints during the Spring/Summer Meet, including the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint on the Summit of Speed program.
Stakes-winners during Gulfstream’s 2017-2018 Championship Meet that were also pre-entered for Breeders’ Cup races were Promises Fulfilled and X Y Jet.
Robert J. Baron’s Promises Fulfilled, who launched his 2018 campaign with a victory in the $400,000 Fountain of Youth, was pre-entered for the Sprint and the Dirt Mile. The Dale Romans-trained 3-year-old has won three straight graded stakes, including the Allen Jerkens at Saratoga.
Jorge Navarro-trained X Y Jet, who captured the Smile Sprint on the Summit of Speed program and who won the Mr. Prospector and Sunshine Million Sprint during the Championship Meet, was pre-entered in the Sprint.
Others pre-entered in Breeders’ Cup races who competed during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet: Channel Maker, Hi Happy and Sadler’s Joy ($4 million Turf); Giant Expectations and Seeking the Soul (Dirt Mile); Extravagant Kid, Blind Ambition, Bucchero, Rainbow Heir, Richard’s Boy and Vision Perfect (Turf Sprint); Fuhriously Kissed and Verve’s Tale ($2 million Distaff); and Marley’s Freedom (Filly & Mare Sprint).