Gunnevera and his trainer Antonio Sano both have impressive achievements. While the chestnut colt’s success took place on track, many of Sano’s remarkable accomplishments occurred in his personal life.

Gunnevera established himself among the best of his generation when he won the 2016 Saratoga Special Stakes. For good measure, he took home top prize in the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes to close his juvenile season. After winning the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park, Gunnevera finished third in the Florida Derby as the favorite. He reconfirmed his top-shelf status with a runner-up effort in the Travers Stakes on August 26.

“I am very proud of him," Sano said after the Travers. "It was a really good race. We expected first place when we came in, but we're happy with his race.”

Gunnevera returned to his Gulfstream Park West base with plans to train up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

For Sano, the Travers performance was more good fortune in a life once overcome by hardships. From a family of trainers and an accomplished trainer himself in his native Venezuela, Sano fled to South Florida in 2010 to escape the country’s turmoil that included his own kidnapping. With support from his previous clients, Sano restocked his stable and soon was winning races. In 2015, Sano, as agent, bought 11 yearlings at Keeneland’s September sale including a $16,000 purchase better known today as Gunnevera. His maternal grandsire, Unbridled, won the 1990 Classic and was third the following year.

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