Sunday, January 22, 2017
Stakes Winner Suddenbreakingnews Set to Return Friday
Trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel has waited more than five months to run Suddenbreakingnews. What’s another five days?
Suddenbreakingnews is scheduled to make his 4-year-old debut in Friday’s seventh race at Oaklawn, a fourth-level allowance/optional claimer for older horses at 1 1/16 miles. Among Oaklawn’s leading 3-year-olds, the gelding will be making his first start since a fifth-place finish in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (G2) Aug. 6 at Mountaineer.
“We’re ready to go and see what we can do,” Von Hemel said before training hours Sunday morning.
Von Hemel passed Oaklawn’s first major two-turn race for older horses, the $125,000 Fifth Season Stakes Jan. 13, and entered Suddenbreakingnews in a 1 1/8-mile conditioned allowance Sunday. But the race, carded at a rare distance for an Oaklawn allowance, didn’t fill. Von Hemel said the sixteenth of a mile difference isn’t trivial for a late-running horse like Suddenbreakingnews, owned by Samuel Henderson.
“Most of the races are a mile and a sixteenth, so you have to be able to perform in both,” Von Hemel said. “Could there be a different winner, whether it’s another sixteenth? Certainly.”
Regular rider Luis Quinonez is scheduled to ride Suddenbreakingnews, a winner of 3 of 11 lifetime starts and $745,032.
Also entered are For Greater Glory, Brerry, multiple stakes winner Shotgun Kowboy, Hillbilly Royalty (also trained by Von Hemel), Financial Modeling, King of New York and Abraham.
Von Hemel said Suddenbreakingnews faces some challenges in his 4-year-old debut.
“First time against older horses – that’s a hurdle,” Von Hemel said. “After time off, that’s a hurdle. You always have questions in your mind. You want to see what he’s about this year.”
Suddenbreakingnews was a last-to-first winner of the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) last February at Oaklawn. He then ran fifth in $900,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) and second in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn and fifth in the Kentucky Derby.
Suddenbreakingnews, a son of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, was gelded shortly after the West Virginia Derby, Von Hemel said.
He has had eight published workouts since Dec. 5 at Oaklawn, the last a half-mile move in :49 Saturday morning, in preparation for his comeback. Save a handful of missed training days because of a frozen racing surface (Von Hemel said that factored into his decision to skip the 1 1/16-mile Fifth Season), Suddenbreakingnews hasn’t had any hiccups, the trainer said.
“We’ve juggled a little bit of the muddy days, but we should be ready to go,” Von Hemel said.
Oaklawn’s next major two-turn race for older horses is the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 20. The series continues with the $250,000 Essex Handicap at 1 1/16 miles March 18 and $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) at 1 1/8 miles April 15.
Von Hemel saddled Alternation to victories in the Razorback, Essex and Oaklawn Handicap in 2012.
Asked if Friday’s race is Suddenbreakingnews’ prep for the Razorback – increased from $350,000 to a record $500,000 this year – Von Hemel said: “Oh, let’s just go one step at a time.”
Probable post time for Friday’s seventh race is 4:14 p.m. (Central).
Ivan the Great
Multiple stakes winner Ivan Fallunovalot returned to the track Sunday morning following his half-mile workout Friday and remains on target to make his 7-year-old debut in the $125,000 King Cotton Stakes Feb. 4, trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs said.
Under Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel, Ivan Fallunovalot breezed in :48.40 over a muddy surface, a time that ranked third out of 39 works recorded at the distance. Howard said Sunday morning that Ivan Fallunovalot will have his final work for the King Cotton next weekend.
“Got to play it by ear on this deal, the way this weather is, but it will be in the neighborhood of Friday, Saturday or Sunday,” Howard said. “That puts us a week out.”
Ivan Fallunovalot, owned by Lewis Mathews of Bismarck Ark., is the two-time defending King Cotton champion. A $25,000 claim at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting, Ivan Fallunovalot has amassed $800,808 in career earnings, winning 15 of 24 starts.
Ivan Fallunovalot has won four consecutive races, the last coming in the $250,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) Nov. 19 at Laurel.
Thursday’s eighth race, a fourth-level allowance/optional claiming sprint, could produce a starter, or starters, for the 6-furlong King Cotton. Among the eight horses entered is millionaire Alsvid, winner of Oaklawn’s $300,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) in 2015 and King Cotton runner-up the last four years.
Ivan Fallunovalot ran second in the 2015 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap.
The surface was muddy for workouts Sunday morning. … Multiple stakes winner Shotgun Kowboy breezed a half-mile in :49.80 just after the track opened Sunday morning for owner/trainer/breeder C.R. Trout. Shotgun Kowboy is scheduled to make his 5-year-old debut in Friday’s seventh race, a fourth-level allowance/optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles, against 2016 Arkansas Derby runner-up Suddenbreakingnews. … There were 257 recorded workers Saturday morning. … Saturday’s victory aboard Chanel’s Legacy in the $125,000 Dixie Belle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies was the 2,988th in North America for jockey Alex Birzer, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. … Trainer John Ortiz recorded his third career victory, and first at Oaklawn, when favored A Terrific Shot ($6.20) won Saturday’s fourth race. Ortiz, a former assistant to Kellyn Gorder, went out on his own late last year. … Owner Alex Lieblong, chairman of the Arkansas Racing Commission, won Saturday’s first race (via race-related disqualification) with favored Set the Trappe ($5.40). Another ARC commissioner, Steve Landers, owns Leofric, who broke his maiden as the 4-5 favorite in Saturday’s sixth race. … Early probables for Saturday’s $125,000 American Beauty Stakes for female sprinters, according to the racing department: Athena (Helen Pitts trains), Chanteline (Steve Asmussen), D R C’s Pretty Sky (Federico Villafranco), Marquee Miss (Ingrid Mason) and Super Saks (D. Wayne Lukas). The 6-furlong race closed with 31 nominations. … Carve, powerful winner of the $100,000 Fifth Season Stakes in 2015 at Oaklawn, surpassed $1 million in career earnings with a fifth-place finish in the $75,000 Louisiana Stakes Saturday at Fair Grounds. On behalf of owner Mike Langford of Jonesboro, Ark., Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen claimed Carve for $30,000 out of a Jan. 25, 2013, career debut victory at Oaklawn. In addition to Carve ($1,000,140), Langford campaigned another millionaire in multiple Oaklawn stakes winner Jonesboro ($1,550,685). Carve, a 7-year-old gelded son of First Samurai, has a 7-4-6 record from 30 lifetime starts.