Source: TDN, 10/7/17
The highly regarded Free Drop Billy (Union Rags), a very close second in the seven-furlong GI Hopeful S. Sept. 4, posted a breakthrough four-length decision while negotiating two turns for the first time in Saturday’s GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, a ‘Win and You’re In’ for the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Longshots Bravazo (Awesome Again) and Lone Sailor (Majestic Warrior) were second and third. The race was marred by the injury of ‘TDN Rising Star’ Ten City (Run Away and Hide), who was abruptly pulled up after seizing control with a quick move on the far turn and vanned off. “We always thought [two turns would suit him],” winning trainer Dale Romans said. “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.”
Racing in midpack under a snug hold behind fractions of :23.34 and :47.11, the 3-2 favorite hit the gas on the far turn as Ten City took a bad step on the front end. The blaze-faced chestnut kicked for home in complete command and romped home as a much-the-best winner.
“He’s been inside basically in all of his starts,” jockey Robby Albarado said. “He’s been in a lot of trouble in all of his starts, and he’s got a lot of hair on his chest for a young horse. When I got him outside, he ran home nicely. Once he got in front, he got a little lazy. I expected that. He’s never run that far before.”
Free Drop Billy, a flashy come-from-behind debut winner going 5 1/2 furlongs at Churchill June 15, completed the exacta behind Firenze Fire (Poseidon’s Warrior), winner of Saturday’s GI Champagne S., in the July 22 GIII Sanford S. at Saratoga. He rallied from last of eight to finish a neck short of ‘TDN Rising Star’ Sporting Chance (Tiznow) in the Hopeful.
Ken McPeek, trainer of Ten City, later Tweeted, “Sorry to share Ten City won’t survive this. I’m sick for the horse, my clients and staff.”
Click here for a recent feature on the Albaugh Family’s promising juveniles of this year.
Free Drop Billy becomes the fourth Grade I winner, first colt, for Union Rags. He has sired a total of five graded stakes winners. In addition to the talented G1 Coral-Eclipse S. winner Hawkbill, Trensa, a half-sister to three-time graded winner Batique (Storm Cat), is also responsible for a Curlin colt of 2016 and a More Than Ready colt of this year. Trensa was bred back to Kitten’s Joy. The graded stakes-placed Trensa, a homebred for Helen K. Groves, RNA’d for $265,000 at the 2008 KEENOV Sale. The Albaugh family secured Trensa’s Curlin yearling colt for $800,000 at this year’s KEESEP Sale.