Free Drop Billy finally came through when it mattered after two runner-up finishes in the Sanford and Hopeful. The 3/2 favorite stormed the backstretch to win the 2017 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland by a margin of four lengths. This win came despite an odd, sweaty, pre-race ritual the horse displayed. “I’d rather him not do that, but he does it, and that’s just him,” said trainer Dale Romans of Free Drop Billy’s propensity to lather. “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.”
The longer distance of the Breeders’ Futurity, ran at 1 1/16th miles, was supposed to benefit Free Drop Billy who looked absolutely untouchable in his first run at two turns. “We always thought it would suit him,” Romans continued. “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.”
With the win, Free Drop Billy cemented his place in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar which is now less than a month away. The most notable trait about his running style is the grace in which he accelerates. A two-year-old out of Union Rags, Free Drop Billy is certainly gaining a fandom based on his impressive running style.
Elsewhere in the 2017 Champagne Stakes, Firenze Fire stunned the 12-horse field to book his own spot in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The 11/1 longshot surpassed Good Magic and Hazit, who were both favorites to win the race at 3/1 and 5/1. Firenze Fire fought hard down the homestretch to earn a close win, showing his trademark, fighting spirit.
The top two-year-old colt in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile is undoubtedly Bold d’Oro, who recently crushed the Frontrunner Stakes. The Tabulator is also in contention after a resounding win in the Iroquois Stakes. With Free Drop Billy and Firenze Fire now muddying the field, this race is turning in to a seriously appealing challenge on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.