February 4, 2023

Gunnevera gets in first gallop over Churchill strip

Deep-closing Gunnevera pleased trainer Antonio Sano in his first Churchill gallop (Coady Photography)

Gunnevera, winner this season of the Fountain of Youth (G2), took his first gallop over the Churchill Downs main track Tuesday in advance of the May 6 Kentucky Derby (G1). Victor Farrel was aboard.

The beaten favorite when third in the Florida Derby (G1) last time, Gunnevera galloped a mile while under the watchful eye of trainer and part-owner Antonio Sano.

“I liked what I saw this morning,” Sano said. “Tomorrow he will go a mile and a half and I plan to work Saturday morning.”

Also making his first appearance on the Churchill main track was two-time Grade 1 winner Practical Joke, who galloped for trainer Chad Brown. The Eclipse Award-winning conditioner indicated he would prefer to work the recent Blue Grass (G2) runner-up on Friday with wet weather forecast this weekend.

Four of trainer Todd Pletcher’s Derby hopefuls galloped at Churchill Tuesday morning, while two others arrived in Louisville late Tuesday morning from Palm Beach Downs.

Malagacy, Tapwrit, and Battalion Runner all galloped, as did Master Plan, who currently sits outside the top 20 Derby leaderboard at No. 26. Arriving from Florida were Florida Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming and TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Patch.

Pletcher said he would continue to monitor the weather before determining final work dates for all his Derby horses.

Possible Derby favorite Classic Empire and stablemate State of Honor both galloped a mile and a half for trainer Mark Casse, while Spiral (G3) winner Fast and Accurate galloped nine furlongs at the Trackside Louisville training center for trainer Mike Maker.

Jogging or walking this morning were Gotham (G2) winner J Boys Echo, who has a breeze scheduled Saturday, McCraken, Hence, Local Hero, and Lookin at Lee.

At Keeneland, Blue Grass winner Irap galloped over the main track ahead of a scheduled breeze on Friday, while Louisiana Derby hero Girvin galloped on the synthetic training track.

You can check out videos of gallops from today and other days at the TwinSpires YouTube site

Check out the 2017 Kentucky Derby workout videos on this special page