Von Hemel Taking Two Shots at Southwest
Synchrony and Suddenbreakingnews are both being pointed for the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds Feb. 15 at Oaklawn, trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said Wednesday morning.
Suddenbreakingnews had been under consideration for the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) Feb. 20 at Fair Grounds, but Von Hemel decided to the keep the Mineshaft gelding in Hot Springs, where he and Synchrony have been training for more than a month.
“Just makes sense,” Von Hemel said.
Synchrony (Pin Oak Stable) and Suddenbreakingnews (Samuel Henderson) have different owners and will be racing against each other for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest, Oaklawn’s second major prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) April 16.
Synchrony finished third in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 at Oaklawn, which marked the two-turn and stakes debut for the son of Tapit. Von Hemel said Shaun Bridgmohan will retain the mount on the colt, who won 2 of 3 starts last year before making his 3-year-old debut in the Smarty Jones.
Von Hemel said regular rider Luis Quinonez will have the mount on Suddenbreakingnews, who made all five starts last year at Remington Park. He won the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes Nov. 6 before concluding his 2-year-old campaign with a runner-up finish, beaten a nose, in the $250,000 Springboard Mile Stakes Dec. 13.
Springboard Mile winner Discreetness won the Smarty Jones.
“I think Discreetness validated Suddenbreakingnews a little bit,” Von Hemel said.
Suddenbreakingnews has recorded four works at Oaklawn since New Year’s Eve, including a 6-furlong move in 1:13.80 Monday morning under Quinonez. Von Hemel said it was Suddenbreakingnews’ most significant move in preparation for his 3-year-old debut.
“I was very happy with it,” Von Hemel said. “It was a good work. Like where we’re at, headed to the Southwest.”
Off The Trail
Knights Key, who was scratched from the Jan. 18 Smarty Jones Stakes after drawing post 14, has been sidelined because of a minor leg problem until the summer, owner Alex Lieblong of Conway, Ark., said Tuesday morning.
Lieblong said X-rays revealed two “two small” bone “flakes” in the upper joint of a knee, which noted equine surgeon Larry Bramlage recommended being removed.
Knights Key is scheduled to have surgery Monday, Feb. 1 at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., trainer Steve Hobby said Wednesday morning.
Streamline, upset winner of the $100,000 Pippin Stakes Jan. 17 at Oaklawn, worked a half-mile in :51.80 Wednesday morning for trainer Brian Williamson. … Grade 2 winner High Dollar Woman breezed a half-mile in :49 Wednesday morning for trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs. The $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn is the first major 2016 objective for High Dollar Woman, Hobby said. … Giant Trick, a 3-year-old Neko Bay colt who broke his maiden Jan. 16 at Oaklawn, worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.80 Wednesday morning for Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg. … Set the Trappe, sixth as a maiden in the $350,000 Hopeful Stakes (G1) for 2-year-olds Sept. 7 at Saratoga, is scheduled to begin breezing Thursday at Oaklawn, Hobby said. … A M Milky Way, scratched from an allowance/optional claiming sprint Jan. 15 at Oaklawn, won Saturday night’s $50,000 Spirit of Texas Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park.
Source: Oaklawn Park