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 at Oaklawn Park estimated at 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 for owner Henderson of Odessa, Texas. This marked the first career start away from Remington Park for Suddenbreakingnews, who broke his maiden and captured the Clever Trevor Stakes in Oklahoma City. Von Hemel indicated the $900,000 Rebel seemed “likely” for the gelding’s next start March 19 at Oaklawn.