Free Drop Billy
BreederHelen K. Groves Revokable Trust
Each year, Albaugh Family Stable and trainer Dale Romans get one placing closer to victory in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. They were third in 2015 with Brody’s Cause and second last year with Not This Time. Free Drop Billy and Hollywood Star carry their hopes this year.
The Iowa-based Albaugh stable was previously involved in partnerships before branching out under their own banner in 2014. One of their first acquisitions was Brody’s Cause, a $350,000 purchase at the Keeneland September yearling sale. They picked up Free Drop Billy at the same venue in 2016 for $200,000.
Nine months later, Free Drop Billy began making a return on that investment by winning his career debut at Churchill Downs. He was runner-up at Saratoga Race Course in the Sanford Stakes and Hopeful Stakes before capturing the “Win and You’re In” Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 7.
Romans said after the victory that he felt the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Breeders’ Futurity was key Free Drop Billy’s victory.
“We always thought (it 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.”
The stable tends to christen their horses with names relating to family and friends. The colt’s name reflects golf terminology of allowing a player to move the ball from a specific area without penalty before swinging. Stable chairman Dennis Albaugh’s golf buddy Bill Collins has a penchant for free drops, hence the name.