by Keeneland Press Release
October 7, 2017
LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 7, 2017) – In the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, favored Free Drop Billy took command at the head of the stretch and drew off to post a four-length victory over Bravazo and give trainer Dale Romans a fourth victory in the race and a second for the Albaugh Family Stables that won in 2015 with Brody’s Cause.
With the victory, Free Drop Billy earned a spot in the starting gate for the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) to be run Nov. 4 at Del Mar.
Robby Albarado, who rode Wicked Style to victory in the 2007 Breeders’ Futurity, had Free Drop Billy in mid pack as longshot Ready Prospector led the field of 11 through fractions of :23.34, :47.11 and 1:12.66. On the turn, Bravazo briefly took over before being collared and passed by Free Drop Billy.
Free Drop Billy covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.43 over a fast main track.
Romans also won the race with Brody’s Cause, Dullahan in 2011 and Dawn of War in 2005.
The victory was worth $300,000 and increased Free Drop Billy’s earnings to $428,020 with a record of 4-2-2-0. A Keeneland Sales graduate, Free Drop Billy is a Kentucky-bred son of Union Rags out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Trensa.
Free Drop Billy returned $5, $3.80 and $2.80. Bravazo, ridden by Jon Court, returned $25.20 and $12.80 and finished 2½ lengths in front of Lone Sailor, who paid $8.80 to show under Florent Geroux.
Lionite finished another half-length back in fourth and was followed in order by Givemeaminit, Ezmosh, Crea’s Bklyn Law, Bourbon Resolution, Ready Prospector and Lone Rock. Ten City did not finish.
Quotes from the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1)
Dale Romans (winning trainer of Free Drop Billy)
On the colt getting hot prior to the race
“I’d rather him not do that, but he does it, and that’s just him. 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.”
On the increased distance and racing two turns today
“We always thought (it would suit him). 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.”
Robby Albarado (winning rider)
“He’s been inside basically in all of his starts. 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.”
D. Wayne Lukas (trainer of runner-up Bravazo)
“Jon Court rode a great race. (Bravazo) could not have been in a better spot than the one Jon put him in. That was significant in the race. I love these old men who have experience.”
On whether Bravazo will continue to the Breeders’ Cup
"(Calumet Farm owner Brad Kelley) will have to make that decision. I have mixed emotions. We would like to win the Kentucky Derby (G1). Sometimes if you put them away (from racing) after we see a little something (talent), it works out better down the line. We know he has quality. If Mr. Kelley wants to go to the Breeders’ Cup, of course we will go. He got beat by a good horse today but we beat some good horses, too.”
Jon Court (rider of Bravazo)
“Exactly what Mr. Lukas just said. It was perfect.”
Florent Geroux (rider of third-place finisher Lone Sailor)
“My horse started very nicely, fell back a little, and then there was some bumping going on in front of me. But when I called on my horse at the top of the stretch, he made a nice run. He was just a bit too far back to catch those two horses who were in front of him. He ran a big race.”
Brian Hernandez Jr. (rider of fifth-place finisher Givemeaminit)
“We didn’t have the greatest of trips. We got bounced around a lot out there, and on a young horse like that it kind of compromised him a bit. But it’s part of racing. It’s one of those days where you wish you’d have a little smoother trip, but it didn’t work out in our favor today.”