Fort Hays State University supporters might want to catch the Kentucky Derby on TV Saturday.
A 3-year-old colt, Suddenbreakingnews, trained by Donnie Von Hemel — a Tiger alum and long-time scholarship donor — will be racing in the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Suddenbreakingnews hopes to make big news for Von Hemel, who grew up in tiny Manter in the southwest corner of Kansas.
Pre-race coverage of the derby starts at 3 p.m. Central time on NBC, with “the most exciting 2 minutes in sports” set to begin at 5:34.
Suddenbreakingnews will break out of the No. 2 pole position in the 142nd version of the “Run for the Roses” at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
Von Hemel, who has more than 2,000 victories and $55 million in earnings to his name, graduated from Fort Hays State in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and went into the family business. He is the son of Don Von Hemel, a respected trainer now in his 80s.
Suddenbreakingnews has finished in the top two in all but one of his eight starts.
Hayley Bieker of the FHSU Foundation, said that Donnie Von Hemel, who now lives in Piedmont, Okla., is “a consistent donor to student scholarships.” Von Hemel will be recognized by the Foundation this year as a 20-year donor.