Suddenbreakingnews breezes six furlongs for Belmont
Edited Press Release
Samuel Henderson’s Grade 3-winning Suddenbreakingnews, fifth when last seen in the Kentucky Derby (G1), continued preparations for the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 11 with a six-furlong breeze in 1:12.40 Sunday morning over Churchill Downs’ fast main track with Joe Rocco Jr. in the irons.
Churchill Downs clockers caught the son of Mineshaft in splits of :24.40, :36.60, :48.60 and 1:00.20. He galloped out seven furlongs in 1:25.20.
“I was really happy with him. I thought he looked good,” trainer Donnie Von Hemel said. “He was nice and smooth all the way around. It looked like he was kind picking it up as he went along and he galloped out really strong.
“Everything seems to be in order; it’s just what we’re looking for. I realize that the pace won’t be :45 in the Belmont, but we also won’t be 20 lengths back either (like in the Derby). I just think this horse can run a mile-and-a-half – his pedigree says he can. I think it’s our best chance to get a Grade 1 is in that race.”
Listed as a gelding throughout his racing career, it was recently discovered through an ultrasound that Suddenbreakingnews had two undescended testicles in his abdomen. He will be listed as a ridgling when he runs in the Belmont Stakes.
“He looks like a gelding, he acted like a gelding and that’s the way it was,” Von Hemel said. “The ultra sound revealed that he had two undescended testicles so he looks like a gelding and we never had any other reason to think otherwise. He’s now an official ridgling.
“I think on the ultrasound they were rather small and with both of them being in his abdomen at this point I don’t think they would descend. Part of the testicles descending is the temperature of the sperm that’s alive so they’re too hot right now. A lot of time there’s one up and one down and there’s the question of if it’s tugging on him and it doesn’t seem to be a problem.”
Von Hemel had always been confident in the horse’s ability to perform at a high level, but never thought he would reach the level that he has.
“I think last fall he ran some nice races and he would have a chance to be a graded stakes type horse,” Von Hemel said. “But I think he’s exceed that and being a trainer is all about managing expectations for your clients and for yourself and for your horses so you don’t over match them.
“In his case I think he can handle them. I think with 99.9-percent of the horses that don’t make it to the Derby, this is above anything you can hope for because it’s so difficult to get there. So any horse that makes it to that point with very few exceptions is exceeding what you could have hoped for.”
Von Hemel said that Suddenbreakingnews could have one more work in Louisville before likely making the trip to Belmont Park on Tuesday, June 7.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, a two-time winner of the Belmont Stakes with Drosselmeyer (2010) and Palace Malice (2013), has the mount.
"Mike has a lot of experience on the Belmont track and in the Belmont," Von Hemel said of switching from Suddenbreakingnews’ regular rider, Luis Quinonez. "He's won the race before and that's what we were kind of looking for, someone who was familiar with the track and the race itself."
Suddenbreakingnews photos courtesy of Churchill Downs/Coady Photography