Suddenbreakingnews Pointing to Rebel Stakes
Suddenbreakingnews will be pointed for the $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn, trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel said Tuesday morning. Suddenbreakingnews moved to the top of the local 3-year-old division in Monday’s $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3), overcoming post 13 in a 2 ¾-length last-to-first victory over Whitmore under regular rider Luis Quinonez.
A gelded son of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, Suddenbreakingnews was making his first start since finishing a troubled second, beaten a nose, in the $250,000 Springboard Mile Dec. 13 at Remington Park.
Von Hemel praised Quinonez, his longtime go-to rider, for steering Suddenbreakingnews clear of traffic in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest, which offered 17 points, including 10 to the winner, toward starting eligibility in the Kentucky Derby. The trainer said Quinonez was able to drop over and save ground around the first turn before launching an eye-catching seven-wide rally turning for home.
“There were just too many to wade up through at that point,” Von Hemel said. “And there was legitimate pace in the race, so that was to our favor. He was the best horse the last quarter-mile.”
Suddenbreakingnews collared Whitmore and American Dubai on the outside in the final 100 yards and was drawing away at the finish.
Ron Moquett of Hot Springs, co-owner/trainer of Whitmore, said Tuesday morning that he was leaning toward running in the 1 1/16-mile Rebel.
“Got to do the three-owner shuffle,” Moquett said, referring to co-owners Harry Rosenblum and Robert LaPenta. “I want to run here, and I own a piece.”
In the Southwest, Whitmore had to steady under the wire the first time, then again just past the half-mile pole. Whitmore, 11th after a half-mile, recovered, glided past horses on the outside on the turn and looked like a winner approaching the sixteenth pole under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.
“You’ve got be proud of how he ran,” Moquett said. “I don’t believe distance will be anything but good for him.”
Trainer Rodney Richards said Tuesday morning that third-place finisher American Dubai would be pointed for the Rebel. In his stakes debut, and third lifetime start, American Dubai was beaten 3 ¼ lengths after holding a clear led in midstretch.
“It was like a victory,” Richards said with a laugh. “Everybody has been congratulating me.”
American Dubai was ridden for the first time Monday by Walter De La Cruz, but Richards said he had received “about five” calls from agents concerning the Rebel.
Discreetness, who finished seventh in the Southwest, will return in the Rebel, trainer Jinks Fires of Hot Springs said Tuesday morning. The colt, after breaking from post 14, was beaten 10 ½ lengths after being caught eight-wide on the first turn and four-wide turning for home.
“Bad trip,” Fires said. “He was outside all the way. Ran a sixteenth a mile farther than anybody.”
Discreetness was coming off a victory in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 at Oaklawn.
Third-place Smarty Jones finisher Synchrony finished a non-threatening sixth in the Southwest as part of a Von Hemel-trained entry with Suddenbreakingnews.
“Really, in both his races here, he’s just never laid his body down and run the way we’ve seen him do it last fall,” Von Hemel said. “It may be that he needs a change of venue, but we’ll be figuring that out in the next few weeks.”
Sarah Still Smiling
Trainer Ingrid Mason said Tuesday morning that multiple stakes winner Sarah Sis was fine physically after a fourth-place finish as the favorite in Sunday’s $100,000 Bayakoa (G3) for older fillies and mares at Oaklawn. The 4-year-old filly, who was stretching out from 6 furlongs to 1 1/16 miles, was beaten nine lengths after being unable to grab the early lead.
“She’s perfect, actually,” Mason said. “She doesn’t really want to go a mile and a sixteenth. When she wins that race, she goes to the front. The fractions they went were so slow that she doesn’t have a big old kick going that far, in my opinion, plus she may have bounced a little bit from that race off the layoff. She ran a tough race that day.”
Sarah Sis finished second in her debut, beaten a neck, in the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes Jan. 23 at Oaklawn.
Mason said next-race plans are pending for Sarah Sis, but she will be nominated to the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) at 1 1/16 miles March 19 at Oaklawn. She is also under consideration for the $200,000 Inside Information Stakes (G2) at 7 furlongs March 19 at Gulfstream Park, Mason said.
Sarah Sis won the $150,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles last year at Oaklawn. She scored her biggest career victory at 7 furlongs in the $250,000 Raven Run Stakes (G2) Oct. 17 at Keeneland. Mason said Sarah Sis’ major year-end objective is the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) Nov. 5 at Santa Anita. The race is 7 furlongs.
A Sure Bet?
Gentlemen’s Bet is entered in Thursday’s eighth race at Oaklawn, 1-mile allowance that would mark the two-turn debut for the multiple stakes-winning sprinter.
But, trainer Ron Moquett of Hot Springs said Monday morning that he wasn’t sure if Gentlemen’s Bet would run or defend his title in the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters March 5 at Oaklawn. Either race, Moquett said, would serve as a prep for the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 10 at Oaklawn.
Gentlemen’s Bet is coming off a fourth-place finish in the $100,000 King Cotton Stakes for older sprinters Jan. 30 at Oaklawn.
The Hot Springs is the final major local prep for the Count Fleet.
“I understand those are the kind of horses you’ve got to beat to win a $400,000 race,” Moquett said. “The thing that I don’t want to do is have to run against those same horses for $100,000, so if you can save your horse’s big bullet – I guess, for lack of a better word, it’s like practicing the ‘A’ team against the ‘A’ team over and over.”
Moquett said he’s always wanted to try 7-year-old Gentlemen’s Bet around two turns, adding it would help the horse’s fitness for the Count Fleet.
Gentlemen’s Bet is among eight horses entered for Thursday’s race. Probable post time is 4:42 p.m. (Central).
A High Dollar Woman
Grade 2 winner High Dollar Woman will make her 4-year-old debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes at Oaklawn, trainer Steve Hobby of Hot Springs said Tuesday morning.
Hobby is using the 5 ½-furlong race as a stepping stone to the $300,000 Azeri Stakes (G2) March 19 at Oaklawn, a 1 1/16-mile event that is the final major local prep for the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 15. The trainer said he chose the Spring Fever after an allowance race didn’t go because of insufficient entries
“I’ve got to run her somewhere,” Hobby said.
High Dollar Woman hasn’t started since finishing 10th in the $100,000 Monmouth Oaks (G3) Aug. 22 at Monmouth Park because of a problem with a suspensory ligament in a hind leg, Hobby said. She was coming off a front-running victory in the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (G2) July 18 at Indiana Grand.
A $675,000 purchase by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark., High Dollar Woman broke her maiden at 6 furlongs as a 2-year-old at Saratoga. In her only Oaklawn start, she ran fifth in last year’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes.
Hobby and the Lieblongs won last year's Spring Fever with the recently retired Spring Included.
Also scheduled to run in the Spring Fever are Haveyougoneaway and Super Saks, first and fourth, respectively, in the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes Jan. 23 at Oaklawn.
Trainer Jinks Fires of Hot Springs said Tuesday morning that Simply Confection, a Jan. 28 allowance winner at Oaklawn, was under “pretty serious” consideration for the Spring Fever.
Black Ops, 10th in the $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes Jan. 18 at Oaklawn, worked 5 furlongs in 1:05.20 after the break Tuesday morning, his first breeze since emerging from the race with a foot abscess. Trainer Rodney Richards said he has no race in mind for Black Ops, a Churchill Downs maiden graduate. … Bumpy Cat, the first horse at the 2016 Oaklawn meet to break 1:10 for 6 furlongs, is pointing for the $100,000 Nodouble Breeders’ Stakes Feb. 28 at Oaklawn, trainer Ingrid Mason said. Bumpy Cat, a 5-year-old Portobello Road gelding, ran 1:09.90 in a 6 ¼-length allowance victory for Arkansas-breds Jan. 29. The 6-furlong Nodouble is also restricted to state-breds. … Trainer Robertino Diodoro has 4-year-old Subtle Indian, a two-time allowance winner this year at Oaklawn, ticketed for the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes for older sprinters March 5. Subtle Indian won the $100,000 Gazebo Stakes last year at Oaklawn.