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Gunnevera's team eyes another chance to chase down Always Dreaming

Assistant trainer Larry Kelly says Gunnevera "looks fabulous" ahead of the 142nd Preakness Stakes. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun video)

The team behind seventh-place Derby finisher Gunnevera simply wants a clean shot to chase down Always Dreaming in the Preakness.

Mud and a wide trip made it difficult for the late charger to make a run in the Derby. But if some horse steps forward to push the pace early, Gunnevera could give Always Dreaming a scare at Pimlico.

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"You have the old analogy, the hare and the tortoise," said Larry Kelly, a former trainer who drove Gunnevera to Baltimore and has been advising his camp. "Obviously, we come from behind and obviously, Todd's horse is extremely talented. We need a pace, no doubt about it. We need some action on the front end. With an honest pace and without a wide trip, I'd like to have a good, honest run at him."

Kelly was thrilled with Gunnevera's energy after he jogged Monday in his first exposure to the dirt at Pimlico. He arrived in Baltimore on Saturday afternoon. Trainer Antonio Sano was expected to join the the towering colt later in the day Monday.

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Gunnevera's ideal race scenario took a possible hit on Sunday when Royal Mo, one of the early speed horses in the field, suffered a career-ending fracture. Sano and jockey Mike Smith will hope another horse steps forward to wear out Always Dreaming. If that happens, Gunnevera will be set up for his late move.

"He's got a phenomenal kick, and we just haven't had a chance to really prove it or show it," Kelly said. "If he fires, he'll join them up there [near the lead] and then, let the chips fall where they may."

He added that Smith, who's replacing Javier Castellano aboard Gunnevera, is as good as any rider at knowing when to make such a move.

"I don't think we could go to anybody who's better at judging pace," Kelly said.

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