Third-place GI Kentucky Derby finisher Mr. Big News (Giant’s Causeway) geared up for Pimlico’s Oct. 3 GI Preakness S. with a half-mile breeze in :48 4/5 (22/76) Friday at Churchill Downs. Regular exercise rider Tony Quinones was in irons.
“He was very sharp this morning,” said trainer Bret Calhoun. “I know it was cool. He went a little quicker than we wanted, but did it very easy, well within himself. He was full of energy, kind of what we wanted to see. It was what we wanted or better.”
Mr. Big News earned a free entry in the Preakness with his win in the Apr. 11 Oaklawn S. Calhoun said his charge will work again Saturday, Sept. 26, which will be his final breeze before the Preakness. If it goes smoothly, Mr. Big News will head to Baltimore for the 1 3/16-mile Classic.
“He’s a fit horse; he doesn’t need a lot,” Calhoun said of next week’s work. “I’m not looking for fitness. Just maintain what we’ve got and hold his edge.”
Owner Chester Thomas and Calhoun said the strong finish by Mr. Big News at the end of the Derby helped determine their colt’s Preakness path.
“The free ride in the Preakness was there,” said Calhoun, “but he needed to prove that he belonged with that group of horses.”