Updated on 09/17/2011 11:13AM

Everybody's talking about Dynever, now here's the test

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
With one maiden victory under his belt, Dynever is likely to start as the favorite against eight other 3-year-olds in Saturday's $250,000 Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -The Kentucky Derby - or any of the Triple Crown races - may be rushing things a bit for the lightly raced Dynever. But a big effort in Saturday's $250,000 Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream Park would certainly put the much-ballyhooed 3-year-old on a path for important division races later in the season.

Despite having raced just twice, and with only a maiden victory under his belt, Dynever is likely to start as the favorite against eight other 3-year-olds, including Supah Blitz, runner-up in the Fountain of Youth. The 1 1/16-mile Aventura is the feature race and finale on Saturday's 11-race program, which also includes the $100,000 Artax Handicap at seven furlongs for older horses.

The Aventura has taken the place of Hialeah's tradition-rich Flamingo Stakes on the south Florida racing schedule. Saturday will be the second running of the Aventura, which is not graded and thus has no bearing on the money earnings that determine eligibility for the Kentucky Derby.

Dynever served notice in his career debut that he was a horse with a promising future. He rallied from last to finish a fast-closing second behind the more seasoned Nacheezmo in a seven-furlong race on Feb. 8. A son of Dynaformer, Dynever further enhanced his reputation with an impressive 8 1/4-length victory in his first two-turn race, on March 8.

His trainer, the usually reserved Christophe Clement, said he was "getting excited" about the prospect of running Dynever in the Aventura. And jockey Edgar Prado showed his confidence in the young colt by giving up the mount on Take Charge Lady in Saturday's $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park to ride Dynever for half that purse money in the Aventura.

Dynever should benefit from the abundance of speed in the Aventura lineup, as will Supah Blitz, who appears to be the only horse in the field who may run in the Kentucky Derby.

Supah Blitz rallied to finish second behind Trust N Luck in the Grade 1 Fountain of Youth. He made a mild run into the stretch of the Grade 1 Florida Derby before faltering and finishing fourth. Trainer Manny Tortora said Supah Blitz came out of the race with mucus in his lungs.

The presence of stretchout sprinters Valid Video, Private City, and Massive should assure an honest pace in the Aventura.

Unbridels King, White Buck, Valenzo, and Popular Ground round out the field.

Valid Video has already won two sprint stakes this winter, and his trainer, Dennis Manning, is making no secrets about his strategy on Saturday.

"I'm going to the lead and if anybody else wants it, they're going to have to deal with us," said Manning.

Rematch in Artax

The Artax features a rematch between Tour of the Cat and Burning Roma, who have already split a pair of decisions this year. Burning Roma easily came out on top when he won the Tampa Bay Breeders' Cup on the turf. Tour of the Cat turned the tables with a head victory here three weeks later in the Grade 2 Richter Scale Handicap.

The field of eight in the Artax also includes the Mark Shuman-trained entry of Highway Prospector and Native Heir, Storm Craft, Swift Replica, No Excuse Needed, and Better Road.

Saturday's card will start a half-hour earlier than usual, at 12:30 p.m.

for Gulfstream Park entries.

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