Albaugh Family Stables has had runners in the past two editions of the Kentucky Derby in Brody’s Cause and J Boys Echo. They may have had two last year but for the injury to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Not This Time.
In Free Drop Billy, they may have a horse that can extend their run to three years.
Albaugh Family Stables, run in Iowa by Jason Loutsch and pesticide company tycoon Dennis Albaugh, bought Free Drop Billy for $200,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September yearling sale. Like many of their horses, he is trained by Dale Romans.
Free Drop Billy began his career at Churchill Downs, winning a maiden special weight race June 15. He then went to Saratoga to run two great races: second in the Sanford Stakes (G3) to subsequent Champagne Stakes (G1) winner Firenze Fire, and second in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) to Sporting Chance.
Returning to Kentucky, he was made the $1.50 favorite for the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland, and won very easily, by four lengths. That race earned him 10 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, and the First Saturday in May at Churchill Downs is bound to be his desired spring destination.
Free Drop Billy is from the second crop of Union Rags, whose victories included the Champagne Stakes and the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes (G1). Union Rags has made a good start to his career at Lanes End, with his winners including the dual grade one-winning filly Paradise Woods and the Belmont Stakes third-place finisher Patch.
His dam Trensa (Giant’s Causeway) was a three-race winner who earned black type when finishing second in the 1 3/8-mile Robert G. Dick Memorial Handicap (G3) on the Delaware Park turf.
She’s already proved her worth as a broodmare, as she’d already produced a top-level winner. Hawkbill, raced by Godolphin, is one of Europe’s better horses, having won the 1 ¼-mile Eclipse Stakes (G1) at Sandown, and the 1 ½-mile Princess of Wales Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot.
It’s a pedigree laden with stamina, and it would be a surprise if Free Drop Billy did not stay 1 ¼ miles. Whether he has the class for the race come May next year is yet to be proven, but he’s off to a fantastic start.
Watch for Free Drop Billy on the Kentucky Derby Future Wager!
(Photo by Coady Photo/Keeneland)