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2017 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes

Free Drop Billy left little doubt as to who was the best two-year-old in the 2017 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes. The son of Union Rags exploded down the homestretch to win by four lengths and finally proved to his connections that he is capable of living up to his potential.

Ready Prospector took the field out and set a patient pace with the field going through fractions of :23.34, :47.11 and 1:12.66. Despite his best efforts to lure his rivals in to a heated sprint. Around the second turn, the real contenders started to make their moves.

Breaking early was Ten City, who had sat in second for most of the race at 101. Striding easily past a fading Ready Prospector. Strangely, however, Ten City suddenly let up and was eased up by his jockey, Corey Lanerie.

Instead, Free Drop Billy stormed to the front with his trademark gallop, looking untouchable and unbeatable in the Breeders’ Futurity. He surpassed his rivals with grace and speed, earning a final time of 1:45.43.

Going off at 32 as the Futurity favorite, Free Drop Billy was worth $5.00, $3.80 and $2.80 across the board. Bravazo was the big stunner on the day with a $25.20 and $12.80 payout based on long 301 odds. Lone Sailor delivered $8.80 in third at 121.

Trainer Dale Romans was notably frustrated with Free Drop Billy’s behavior prior to the race, as he worked himself in to a lather, but his performance on the track more than suited his connections. "I’d rather him not do that, but he does it, and that’s just him," said Romans regarding the unusual pre-race sweating. "I think if he changed, I’d worry about it at this point. He’s done it in all four of his races. He gets hot. It’s not nerves. He just sweats." 

Concerning the race itself, Romans and his team was thrilled to see how Free Drop Billy ran at two turns, and as many experts assumed, a longer race suits the 2017 Breeders’ Futurity Stakes winner. "If you look at all his numbers on paper, every time they stretched a race a bit, he got a little bit better. Today I think we saw what he is really capable of."

The way that Free Drop Billy ran in the Breeders’ Futurity was outstanding and showed off his amazing pace. He’s definitely one of the more interesting two-year-olds running ahead of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. We’ll see him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he’ll contend with the best of his age grade.

The race earned 10 points towards on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Tragically, Ten City had to be euthanized following the race. The Run Away and Hide colt had finished 1st in the Bashford and 3rd inthe Ellis Park Juvenile. Trainer Kenneth McPeek and owner Tommie Lewis were devestated.