Gunnevera was perhaps unlucky in not finishing closer to Irish War Cry in the Lambholm South Holy Bull Stakes (USA-II) on February 4, as he was bumped while launching his bid on the far turn. He also may have needed the race, as his works became sharper and more focused afterward. He certainly looked the part of a fit and ready colt in the Fountain of Youth, simply inhaling his rivals in the stretch after taking the overland route around the far turn.
With eight starts now under his belt, Gunnevera is one of the more seasoned colts on this year's Triple Crown trail, and he is also among the most consistent, with a record of four wins and two seconds including two previous graded stakes wins. That's good quality, and with 2011 Florida Derby (USA-I) winner Dialed In (a son of 2003 American Horse of the Year Mineshaft) as sire and with Unbridled, Graustark and The Minstrel as the sires of his first three dams, there is little reason to believe that Gunnevera won't stay as far as colts are asked to run. Like all come-from-behind horses, he is vulnerable to traffic problems up front, but given clear sailing, he has the talent and honesty to be dangerous at any time.
J Boys Echo is a little more enigmatic; after notching his first stakes score and second victory from five starts, he could be a good horse who is developing at the right time or a flash in the pan. The son of Mineshaft looked strong in overcoming a six-length deficit while running four-wide, and like Gunnevera, has the pedigree to suggest that distance will not be a problem, but he has already gotten a good look at Gunnevera's rump when a well-beaten fourth to that colt in last November's Delta Downs Jackpot (USA-III) after earning a Thoroughbred Daily News "Rising Star" tag in his second start. He will probably make only one more start during the Triple Crown prep season, and the results of that race will probably determine whether he continues on as a contender for classic honors.