Mr. Big News team talking up Preakness hopes

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Pimlico Racecourse
May 18, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Tyler Gaffalione aboard War of Will (1) wins the 144th running of the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Connections of Mr. Big News have no intention of heading to the Preakness at Pimlico to be a part of the show in the final Triple Crown race of a strange 2020 season.

The Kentucky Derby third will be lining up ‘to win’ on October 3rd if he lines up at all.

That’s the verdict of owner Chester Thomas as he considers the possibility of a rematch with Churchill Downs one-two Authentic and Tiz The Law at Pimlico.

Mr. Big News was only confirmed as a Kentucky Derby entrant late in the piece and despite odds of 46/1 giving him an outsider’s chance in the ‘Run for the Roses’, he circled rivals to loom into the picture in the latter stages.

Ultimately, he couldn’t get with the front pair in that race as he settled for minor honours behind Authentic and Tiz The Law. The son of Giant’s Causeway did more than enough to warrant a second crack at a Triple Crown contest in Thomas’ eyes.

“If our horse is doing good, we’re going to the Preakness to win the Preakness,” Thomas said.

“We’re not running because we’ve got a free spot, we’re not running for a piece of it. If we don’t win, I hope we can get a piece of it, it’s a tough game. There’s going to be a bunch of good horses in there, but we’re going to [try and] win that thing.”

Mr. Big News boasts two wins in his eight-race career thus far. He earned some valuable black-type via the Oaklawn Stakes in April and finished sixth in the Blue Grass Stakes before opting to take his chance in the Kentucky Derby.

His owner concedes that ‘flashy’ isn’t a word that will be used to describe him.

“He’s just kind of a grinder,” Thomas added. “He hasn’t been a real flashy horse. We haven’t won a big race, and we’ve been in some tough races.”

However, Authentic took a big stride forward when improving to hand Bob Baffert his latest Kentucky Derby success. The Hall of Fame trainer has seen all six previous winners go on to land the Preakness.

Thomas knows there’s a demand for further improvement if Mr. Big News wants to land the Preakness early next month, but he felt that last-time-out run offered enough reasons for optimism.

“It’s going to take a top effort,” Thomas said. “He’s really going to have to step up his game, so we’ll see. But he’s showed us he’s got it in him, and we’ll see how he does.”

Authentic is on track for the Preakness along with stablemate Thousand Words. Ellis Park Derby winner Art Collector also looks set to make the line-up, though Tiz The Law’s participation is not yet confirmed by trainer Barclay Tagg.

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