Edited Press Release

Synchrony and Suddenbreakingnews are both being pointed for the $500,000 Southwest S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park on February 15, according to trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel.

Suddenbreakingnews had been under consideration for the $400,000 Risen Star S. (G2) on February 20 at Fair Grounds, but Von Hemel decided to the keep the Mineshaft gelding in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where he and Synchrony have been training for more than a month.

“Just makes sense,” Von Hemel shrugged.

Synchrony (Pin Oak Stable) and Suddenbreakingnews (Samuel Henderson) have different owners and will be racing against each other for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Southwest, Oaklawn’s second major prep for the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 16.

Synchrony finished third in the January 18 Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn, which marked the two-turn and stakes debut for the son of Tapit. Von Hemel said Shaun Bridgmohan will retain the mount on the colt, who won two of three starts last year before making his sophomore debut in the Smarty Jones.

The trainer added that regular rider Luis Quinonez will have the mount on Suddenbreakingnews, who made all five starts last year at Remington Park. The bay gelding won the November 6 Clever Trevor S. before concluding his juvenile campaign with a nose second in the Springboard Mile S. on December 13.

Springboard Mile winner Discreetness won the Smarty Jones.

“I think Discreetness validated Suddenbreakingnews a little bit,” Von Hemel said.

Suddenbreakingnews has recorded four works at Oaklawn since New Year’s Eve, including a six-furlong move in 1:13.80 Monday morning under Quinonez. Von Hemel said it was Suddenbreakingnews’ most significant move in preparation for his three-year-old debut.

“I was very happy with it,” the horseman stated. “It was a good work. Like where we’re at, headed to the Southwest.”

Also readying for the Southwest this week at Oaklawn Park was Bird of Trey, who covered a half-mile in :49.40 after the renovation break Thursday morning for trainer John Servis.

The bay colt two-minute clipped from the half-mile pole to the wire and then worked back to the half-mile pole.

Bird of Trey won the Pennsylvania Nursery S. on December 5 at Parx before finishing fourth in his three-year-old debut, the January 2 Jerome S. (G2) at Aqueduct. He and four-year-old stablemate Nasa, winner of the 2014 Pennsylvania Nursery and runner-up in last year’s Jerome, arrived earlier this month in Hot Springs.

Nasa, a son of Servis’ 2004 Kentucky Derby (G1)-winning champion Smarty Jones, worked five furlongs in 1:02 Thursday morning.

In other three-year-old news from Oaklawn, maiden winner Knights Key has been sidelined because of a minor leg problem until the summer, according to owner Alex Lieblong. The Giant’s Causeway colt was scratched from the Smarty Jones after drawing post 14.

Lieblong said X-rays revealed two “two small” bone “flakes” in the upper joint of a knee, which equine surgeon Dr. Larry Bramlage recommended being removed.

Trainer Steve Hobby said Knights Key is scheduled to have surgery Monday, February 1, at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.

Bird of Trey photo courtesy of Taylor Ejdys/Equi-Photo