One week after his surprising second-place finish in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, where he was beaten just a length at 31-1, Stipa Racing Stable, Inc.'s Reveron walked the Barn 76 shedrow at Calder Saturday morning with the watchful eye of trainer Agustin Bezara following his every move.
"I never would have entered the race if I didn't think he'd run like that," Bezara said, speaking through interpreter Isaac Jimenez. "I knew going into the race that we had him ready, and he ran just like I knew he would. He came back from the race in excellent shape. He's eating well, and everything has been perfect."
With the Kentucky Derby exactly four weeks away, Bezara has plotted Reveron's course to Louisville, while simultaneously crafting a backup plan in case he does not get a chance to run his colt in the Derby.
"We're going to work him three times leading up to the Derby, that's what we're preparing him for," Bezara said. "But if he doesn't get in (due to lack of graded stakes earnings), then we'll work him again and go right to the Preakness. But we're getting him ready to run in the Derby; that's the goal. And he'll do all his prep work here at Calder."
With $220,000 in graded earnings, Reveron entered Saturday in 19th place on the graded stakes earnings list of 2012 Kentucky Derby hopefuls. With field size for the Derby limited to 20 starters (and four also-eligible horses), and the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby and Grade 3 Illinois Derby scheduled for Saturday, Bezara is fully aware that when evening comes his colt could be on the outside looking in.
"I can't worry about things I cannot control," the trainer said. "Of course, I would love to run this horse in the Derby, but it's out of my hands now. And there is no way we would run him again looking for more (graded) money. So we'll prepare him for the Derby, and see what path destiny has chosen for us."
A champion trainer in his native Venezuela before relocating to the United States in 2010, the 59-year-old Bezara approaches his current Derby flirtation with the composure of a seasoned veteran, which is something one might not expect from the trainer of a relatively small outfit that has made just 32 starts since January 1 and has yet to win a graded stakes in North America.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm a bit surprised to have a horse like this so early in this portion of my career," Bezara said. "And winning the Derby is my dream. But I've run in, and won, a lot of big races in South America and the Caribbean, so I'm not new to this. And if given the chance to run, I'll be ready and so will my horse."