Albaugh Family Stable’s Free Drop Billy, a fine second in both the Hopeful (G1) and Sanford (G3) at Saratoga, took a leap forward on the stretch-out to two turns in Saturday’s $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1). The 3-2 favorite scored 10 points toward the Kentucky Derby (G1) along with a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Del Mar.
Trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Robby Albarado, Free Drop Billy raced several lengths off the pace through opening fractions of :23.34 and :47.11, began to creep a little closer at the six-furlong mark in 1:12.66, and burst clear with a big move entering the homestretch. The likeable chestnut pulled four lengths clear and completed 1 1/16 miles on the fast track in 1:45.43.
Bravazo, a 47-1 shot from the barn of Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, outperformed his odds in second and banked four Derby points. Another 2 1/2 lengths back in third came Lone Sailor, who took home two points, and fourth-placer Lionite’s finish was good for one point. Sadly, Ten City, who had taken command on the far turn, pulled up suddenly with an injury and had to be vanned off.
Free Drop Billy was the second Hopeful runner to win a Derby points race on Saturday, after Firenze Fire in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park. He’d repelled Free Drop Billy when winning the Sanford, but was fourth in their Hopeful rematch. Previously a debut winner at Churchill Downs, Free Drop Billy boosted his resume to 4-2-2-0, $428,020.
By Union Rags, the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile near-misser, 2012 Derby seventh and Belmont (G1) winner, Free Drop Billy will try to improve upon his sire’s record. The classic prospect, who sold for $200,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September, is a half-brother to Godolphin’s British-based Group 1 hero Hawkbill.
Photos courtesy Keeneland/Coady Photography