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Gunnevera pleases trainer Sano with gallop

BALTIMORE -- Gunnevera tacked a three-furlong open gallop onto the end of his Wednesday morning gallop at Pimlico in his final serious work for the 142nd Preakness Stakes on Saturday.

Gunnevera, the Fountain of Youth winner and seventh in the Kentucky Derby, came onto the track from the gap at the three-sixteenths pole at 6 a.m. and backtracked around the track to the finish line. He then galloped a leisurely 1 1/8 miles under 145-pound exercise rider Victor O'Farell before quickening his pace from the seven-eighths pole to the half-mile pole.

David Grening of Daily Racing Form timed Gunnevera's open gallop in 43.60 seconds.

Trainer Antonio Sano was happy with the way Gunnevera quickened for his final three furlongs.

"His work before the Derby was slower than I would have liked," Sano said. "This was much better."

O'Farell thought the move showed that Gunnevera is handling the Pimlico racing surface well.

"He went so easy today, and he finished strong," O'Farell said. "He likes this track."

Gunnevera, a $16,000 Keeneland yearling purchase in 2015, is owned by Salomon del Valle. Gunnevera never reached contention in the Derby after a wide journey but is a three-time stakes winner who has earned more than $1.1 million. In addition to the Fountain of Youth, he won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special and the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot last year.

Alex Sano, 20, is the stable manager for his father. Sano, a sophomore at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, hopes to attend veterinary school after graduation, possibly at the University of Florida, and specialize in treating horses.