Never having raced outside of Oklahoma, Suddenbreakingnews was on few handicappers radar prior to the February 15 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Even at the top of the stretch the colt looked like an also ran before unleashing a furious rally to earn his first graded stakes victory.
Suddenbreakingnews has proven a very versatile runner in his first six starts. In his August 28 debut he crossed the wire first in a 7.5F Maiden Special on the grass at Remington Park, only be disqualified to second. Three starts later he won the 7F Clever Trevor Stakes on the main track. Next out, he handled a sloppy course just fine in the $250,000 Springboard Mile, dropping a nose decision to subsequent Smarty Jones Stakes winner Discreetness (with the highly-touted California invader Esposito in third).
His Southwest victory was not only a rich payday but a good learning experience too. Expertly handled by regular rider Luis Quinonez, Suddenbreakingnews was immediately wrangled to the back of the pack after breaking from post 13. In the process he was bombarded by dirt going into the first turn. Seemingly being bothered by the kickback initially, he settled down nicely and willing passed horses when Quinonez gave his cue. That kind of experience that will come in hand in a 20-horse Kentucky Derby scrum.
Still last of 14 with a half-mile to go, Quinonez left nothing to chance by swinging his mount seven-wide turning for home and Suddenbreakingews mowed them down from there.
The colt's trainer, Donnie K. Von Hemel, would certainly be a welcome addition to the Triple Crown scene. He's earned over 2,000 wins in relative obscurity on the midwest circuit but has made the occasional foray on to the national stage with runners like millionaire Clever Trevor (13th in Sunday Silence's 1989 Derby) and 2011 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile victor Caleb's Posse.
Suddenbreakingnews has the running style and the pedigree to suggest that longer distances are well within his reach. He's by 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, a son of Belmont Stakes hero A. P. Indy and grandson of 1978 Triple Crown conquerer Seattle Slew. Mineshaft was victorious in a quartet of Grade 1 races in his championship season, including the Jockey Club Gold Cup and Suburban Handicap at 10 furlongs. He's been a hit-and-miss stallion with 2011 Florida Derby winner Dialed In and the late-developing Grade 1 winner Effinex, runner-up to American Pharoah in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic, among his 'hits'.
The dam of Suddenbreakingnews, Uchitel, never found the winner's circle in three starts but is by 2005 Preakness/Belmont champ Afleet Alex from an active female family. She's a sister to Grade 1 winner Composure, dam of recent Royal Delta Stakes (G2) winner Penwith.
Suddenbreakingnews can't yet be put in to the top tier of Derby contenders currently occupied by Mohaymen, Nyquist and Mor Spirit. But it won't be a surprise to find him in some Triple Crown race trifectas, at the very least.