LEXINGTON, KY – Albaugh Family Stables’ Free Drop Billy took control in the top of the stretch and took off to win Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.
The Breeders’ Futurity is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with winner receiving an automatic berth in the $2 million Sentient Jet Juvenile at Del Mar on Saturday, November 4.
Breaking well from post 9 under Robby Albarado, Free Drop Billy was well-placed in mid-pack while Ready Prospector set early splits of :23.34 and :47.11. Shifting out slightly entering the top of the stretch, the Dale Romans trainee took command and drew off to cross first by 4 lengths in a final time of 1:45.43 for the 1 1/16-mile main track event.
“He’s been inside basically in all of his starts,” 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.”
Longshot Bravazo cleared away from the rest of the also-rans to take second by 2 1/2 lengths. Lone Sailor took third in a close finish ahead of Lionite and Givemeaminit. Ezmosh nosed out Crea’s Bklyn Law for sixth, with Bourbon Resolution, Ready Prospector, and Lone Rock completing the order of finish.
Ten City had to be vanned off after taking a bad step and pulling up in the far turn while on the lead. Trainer Kenny McPeek later informed the racing community via Twitter that Ten City’s injuries were too severe to survive.
The runner-up in both the Grade 3 Sanford and the Grade 1 Hopeful, Free Drop Billy took advantage of stretching out in distance for his first win since breaking his maiden. The winner’s share of $300,000 increased his career earnings to $428,020.
“We always thought (two turns would suit him),” 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.”
Winner returned $ to win, $ to place, and $ to show. Place brought back $ to place and $ to show, while Show paid $ to show.