Hot Springs, Ark. (Monday, Feb. 15, 2016) – Samuel Henderson’s Suddenbreakingnews made headlines Monday when he rallied from last in the 14-horse field to win the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) by 2 ¾ lengths over Whitmore in front of a Presidents’ Day crowd of an estimated 22,500. He completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45 over a track rated good after overnight rain.
The victory under jockey Luis Quinonez gave the gelding some revenge after a photo-finish loss in his last start and stamped the son of Mineshaft as a leading contender for the Rebel Stakes in March and later 3-year-old races. As the winner, he earned 10 points towards eligibility in the Kentucky Derby and is now 13th on the leaderboard of 20 Derby hopefuls.
Making his first start of the year, Suddenbreakingnews broke from post 13, leaving Quinonez few options other than dropping to last rather than risk going wide on the first turn of the 1 1/16th-mile course.
“That’s the good thing about Luis,” said trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel of his veteran rider. “Even when you have a plan that doesn’t work out, he has the experience to still get it done.”
Whitmore made a similar late run to finish second while American Dubai pressed the pace set by before fading to third, 3 ¼-lengths back.
California shipper Collected also faded after pressing the pace, settling for fourth as the 5-2 favorite.
“This horse ran such a nice race today,” said Quinonez. “We stayed behind everyone, which helped my horse relax and it kept us out of trouble.”
Suddenbreakingnews paid $10.20, 4.40 and 3.20 as the third-choice while coupled in the betting with Synchrony, who finished sixth. Whitmore paid $4.80 and 3.80 with American Dubai returning $7.40 to show.
Siding Spring, who led the field through the first six furlongs, finished fifth. He was followed by Synchrony, Smarty Jones winner Discreetness, Z Royal, Cutacorner, Gordy Florida, Bird of Trey, War Stroll, Luna de Loco and Torrontes.
The winner now has three wins from six career starts, finishing second on his other three losses. He has earned $443,032. Von Hemel indicated the $900,000 Rebel seemed “likely” for the gelding’s next start March 19at Oaklawn.
Southwest Stakes Quotes
Winning trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel, Suddenbreakingnews – “There were concerns about this being his first start and the post position (#13). Luis (Quinonez) knew he had to drop back to save ground and it just turned out he was trailing the field. That’s the good thing about Luis. Even when you have a plan that doesn’t work out, he has the experience to still get it done. I could tell at the eighth pole that he was going to get there. It’s very exciting. More than likely, we’ll look at the Rebel (Stakes March 19) next.”
On Synchrony, sixth: “He didn’t seem to be handling the track. He didn’t run like we know he can run.”
Winning rider Luis Quinonez, Suddenbreakingnews – “This horse ran such a nice race today. We stayed behind everyone, which helped my horse relax and it kept us out of trouble, I could see ahead of us that there were some horses in front of us that were getting in trouble. I think it helped my horse keeping him relaxed. I let him run his race. When he started making a move I tried inside but there was nothing there. I moved him outside and with his long stride he started picking it up quick. I told myself down the lane, “We got this.”
Jockey Mike Smith, second with Whitmore – “I got away so bad. We stood in the gate and stood in the gate and my horse is a little honoree. All of sudden he’s on but then he turns mad and sulks. I’m sitting in the gate feeling him getting mad and sure enough we got away slow then he wanted to catch up with everyone. There’s nowhere to catch up, everyone was close together and he’s trying to run off. I finally got him to settle somewhat and he made a good run at them but just got tired. He’s got a lot of room to improve. I really like him, he could get a lot better.”
Trainer Ron Moquett, second with Whitmore: “We’ll get them next time.”
Jockey Walter De La Cruz, third on American Dubai – “He’s a nice horse. He broke well and was sitting in the perfect position. I got excited at the ¼ pole but got a little tired on me. He ran huge. I’ve got to thank the owner and trainer for giving me the chance to ride him.”
Trainer Rodney Richards, third with American Dubai: “I’m very proud. He really showed up. I’m just happy for the horse and his connections (owner Richard Keith).”
Assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes, fourth with favorite Collected: “I would have liked to have been close to the lead, on the lead. A lot of horses in the race and you get shoved around. You’re in the gate forever. But the bottom line is you’ve got to get out there and run and he didn’t.”
Trainer John Servis, Bird of Trey, 11th: “No excuses.”
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, Z Royal, 8th: “Got outrun.”
Source: Oaklawn Park