HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Reveron isn’t one of the high profile contenders coming into the Florida Derby (G1), especially with early Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite Union Rags heading the field. However, it would be shortsighted to overlook him.

Reveron was allowed to go off at almost 9-1 in the Gulfstream Park Derby on New Year’s Day, despite coming in off back-to-back wins at Calder and having not finished off the board in the first four starts of his career. He took the lead early and never relinquished it to become the nation’s first Derby winner of 2012.

Reveron, owned by Venezuelan businessman Walter Stipe, comes into Saturday’s $1 million Florida Derby off a subsequent third-place finish in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs. He was nosed out for the place by Prospective, who came back to win the Tampa Bay Derby (G3).

As fine as that effort was, Reveron’s trainer, Venezuelan born Agustin Bezara, doesn’t think it truly reflected the ability of the colt he said is the finest talent he has had in 36 years of training. This is saying a lot for a conditioner who won more than 2,000 races in his homeland, including the prestigious Simon Bolivar three times.

“He held on well, as good as horses do,” Bezara, who came to the U.S. almost three years ago, said through an interpreter. However, he doesn’t think Reveron was comfortable on the deep racetrack, which has a pronounced crown. “He came back with a lot of pain in his muscles.” The stress of vanning across the state also took its toll, Bezara feels.

The opportunity to run close to his Calder base influenced Bezara’s decision to take on Union Rags, among other heralded 3-year-olds, in the centerpiece of the Gulfstream meeting. Union Rags has really impressed him, Bezara said, but he didn’t want to make a return trip to Tampa and was even less enthused about vanning 26 hours to the Illinois Derby (G3), another option, especially after Reveron got so upset by the relatively short trip to Tampa.

Reveron’s one-for-one record at Gulfstream also figured into Bezara’s decision. “He knows this track. He has won at this track. And it’s close.”

This doesn’t mean Bezara is totally opposed to going out of town for a major race. “This horse is ready to travel but it has to be for something specific.”

Would the Kentucky Derby be specific enough?

Bezara didn’t wait for the translation.

“Si. Yes.”