Free Drop Billy gallops ahead of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

Free Drop Billy gallops ahead of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs

Anne M. Eberhardt

Free Drop Billy to Spendthrift Upon Retirement

Son of Union Rags will stand at Spendthrift at the end of his racing career.

B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm announced April 30 that it will stand grade 1-winning juvenile and Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) contender Free Drop Billy at the end of his racing career.

Trained by Dale Romans and campaigned by Albaugh Family Stables, which also raced Spendthrift stallion Brody's Cause , Free Drop Billy is Union Rags ' top son.

"We are delighted to be working with the Albaugh family again to stand Free Drop Billy," said Ned Toffey, general manager at Spendthrift Farm. "He's a great-looking horse who's proven to be talented, precocious and consistent and he's from a proven sire's family. He's a very complete stallion prospect, and he'll make a great addition to our roster."

As a 2-year-old, Free Drop Billy won Keeneland's $500,000 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity (G1) in his first start around two turns, taking command of the race at the top of the lane to defeat subsequent Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford (G2) winner Bravazo by four lengths.

Prior to the Breeders' Futurity victory, he finished second in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) Sept. 4 at Saratoga Race Course, where he rallied in the stretch to miss by just a neck to Sporting Chance, and was runner-up to eventual grade 1 winner Firenze Fire in the July 22 Sanford Stakes (G3) also at Saratoga. The effort came after breaking his maiden by three lengths in his 5 1/2-furlong career debut at Churchill Downs in June.

This year at 3, Free Drop Billy has made his presence felt in a trio of Derby preps. He finished second to Audible in the Holy Bull Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park in his February seasonal bow. He followed up that effort with third-place finishes in both the Gotham Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct in March, and most recently in the April 7 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.

"We are thankful for the opportunities Free Drop Billy has afforded us," said Jason Loutsch of Albaugh Family Stable, "and we are extremely excited about his future stallion career at Spendthrift. Since his debut win, we have saddled him seven times in graded stakes competition across multiple tracks, and he hit the board in six of those starts. He is the most honest and workman-like horse we have ever owned. He just loves to train and always gives a big effort."

A $200,000 Keeneland September yearling, Free Drop Billy was bred by the Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust and is out of the graded stakes-placed Giant's Causeway mare Trensa. He is a half brother to British-based group 1 winner Hawkbill from the family of champion Cozzene.