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Mr. Big News – Fashionably Late to the 2020 Kentucky Derby

| September 2, 2020 2:35 am PDT
Mr. Big News – Fashionably Late to the 2020 Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby website shows surprise entrant Mr. Big News with a single Road to the Kentucky Derby point on the final leaderboard. Which is odd, since the colt has never finished good enough to score in his two qualifying races.

Incidentally, the site also shows (as of Tuesday, September 1) fellow surprise entrant South Bend with a single point—even though South Bend actually has 18 verifiable RTKD points. So, for the moment, let’s consider them both typos.

But whether Mr. Big News has zero RTKD points, or one RTKD point, what is important is his skill, his actual accomplishments, and his connections—the people responsible for getting him to the Kentucky Derby finish line this year.

Mr. Big News’ Trainer

This will be trainer W. Bret Calhoun’s first visit to the Kentucky Derby as anything other than a spectator, but don’t think that doesn’t mean he’s not experienced. He has trained horses for nearly 15,000 races and has even taken a few to Breeders Cup wins.

Since 2002, he’s consistently placed among the top trainers in the thoroughbred racing industry, in both earning and wins.

Calhoun was working Mr. Big News toward some potential turf races when the Kentucky Derby called him to see if Mr. Big news and his connections were interested.  number to fill a sudden vacancy in the starting gate. They were.

Recently asked about Mr. Big News’ chances, Calhoun replied: “We think he’ll really relish the mile and a quarter [of the Kentucky Derby]. He’s trained very well on the dirt here [at Churchill Downs] and so we decided to take a swing.”

Mr. Big News’ Jockey

Gabriel Saez rode Eight Belles to a second-place finish in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, and placed second aboard Proud Spell in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies stakes race. He’s been riding top horses to wins in graded stakes races since 2007.

While his win/WPS statistics aren’t quite as formidable as those of some of the other jockeys he’ll be competing against on Saturday, Saez has proven himself time and again to be someone you underestimate at your own peril.

Mr. Big News’ Recent Form

It took Mr. Big News four tries to break his maiden, starting in October 2019 and finally succeeding in late January 2020 at Churchill Downs. Although that was a simple maiden race, Churchill Downs appears to have retroactively awarded Mr. Big News a single RTKD point for the effort. So, forget what I said about typos.

He failed to change the RTKD scoreboard with his fifth-place finish in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Ground in February. He did follow that up with a win in the Oaklawn Stakes (Black Type) in April, but the race was not a KD-qualifier.

His last attempt to put real points on the RTKD leaderboard was in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland in June, but those points eluded him as he finished in sixth place. Points, one might say, are for closers.

Could a KD Win Really Be in the Cards for Mr. Big News?

Few betting men (or women) can resist the temptation of a long-odds surprise contender. It’s dramatic. It’s exciting. it’s Hollywood.

But is it realistic? I think not. Of all the final starters in this year’s Kentucky Derby, Mr. Big News is the least impressive. Unlike his fellow surprise entry, South Bend, Mr. Big News appears to deserve such a low valuation, and I wouldn’t find it strange if he were to finish better than in the high teens. I wonder if there’s a prop bet for that?

Incidentally, if you’re new to this whole betting on horse races craze, you can get yourself up to speed with our primer on Kentucky Derby wagers.

J.W. Paine
J.W. Paine

J.W. Paine is one of the most experienced writers at GamblingSites.com. He's written for television and the printed media, and is a published novelist (as Tom Elliott).

Paine loves writing about Las Vegas nearly as much he loves living here. An experienced gambler, he's especially familiar with thoroughbred horseracing, poker, blackjack, and slots.

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