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 3/4 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 1/4-lengths back.
California shipper Collected also faded after pressing the pace, settling for fourth as the 5-2 favorite.