Top 10 for 2016: No. 3

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Stories leading up to and during the Triple Crown always get plenty of action here at This Is Horse Racing – two appeared in last year’s 15 for 2015 and four showed up on the 14 for 2014 – and this year is no exception either.

Sean Clancy took a break from his late-February Cheltenham prep to write about one of the more intriguing players on the early Triple Crown trail this year and it checks in as the third most popular and well read piece of 2016.

Titled “Sudden Breaking News: Von Hemel’s taking is slowly with Suddenbreakingnews,” Sean’s piece recapped the Mineshaft ridgling’s victory in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park and delved into trainer Donnie Von Hemel’s thoughts on the spring classics.

“Owned by Samuel Henderson, trained by Von Hemel and ridden by Luis Quinonez, Suddenbreakingnews rallied from 14th and last to draw off and win by 2 3/4 lengths,” Sean wrote. “Passing the eighth pole, third-choice Whitmore looked home free. Then he wasn’t. Like flipping a pancake, it was over in strides.”

Von Hemel discussed Suddenbreakingnews’ sore shins as a 2-year-old, which delayed his debut a bit but still didn’t stop the late runner from making five starts from August to December at Remington Park. The racetrack in Oklahoma is “not exactly a pipeline for Derby hopefuls,” Sean wrote. “He won two of those five starts, finishing his 2-year-old season with a second in the Remington Springboard Mile in December. Von Hemel decided to skip the Smarty Jones, the first 3-year-old stakes at Oaklawn Park, and aim at the Southwest.

“ ‘We just had to take our time with him. We got him started at Remington, as he started doing more and more in the morning, he sure looked like a two-turn horse and acted like one. Really, we started liking him more and more and then once we started running him, he just got better every time we led him over,” Von Hemel said. “I thought he had run enough through the fall, we had gained some experience, I was all right with skipping the first race there at Oaklawn and just targeting the Southwest, Mr. Henderson was good with that too, the horse took care of me.’ ”

And you simply must read the line after that quote from Von Hemel.

Click the link below for the full story, check out the other six seven stories we’re posted on the Top 10 for 2016 and come back Friday and Saturday to see No. 2 and No. 1.

3: Sudden Breaking News: Von Hemel’s taking it slowly with Suddenbreakingnews


Check out the other stories so far on the Top 10 for 2016:

4: Gretchen’s way
5: Remembering Johnny Griggs
6: Senior Senator rocks Maryland Hunt Cup
7: Mandola the wonder horse
8: Todd Pletcher and 2 important horses
9: The beauty of Barbados
10: Magnuson excited to be back in upstate New York