©2017 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby takes us to Keeneland Race Course Saturday where FREE DROP BILLY heads a herd of 13 young Thoroughbreds as the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the 104th running of the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) stakes. Post time is 5:10 p.m. ET.
Free Drop Billy comes into this race for trainer Dale Romans with 1-2-0 record in three starts including a second-place finish in both Sanford Stakes (G3) and Hopeful Stakes (G1). Here’s the video and chart call of the Hopeful:
FREE DROP BILLY five wide in pursuit down the backstretch from the tail of the field early on, advanced into the turn and was put to coaxing four wide three furlongs from home, swung five wide from the head of the stretch, rallied with good energy to threat in the late stages, had the aforementioned foe [SPORTING CHANCE] duck out safely in front, never lost any momentum as the rider kept on about his business unabashed by the leader and missed at the wire.
Free Drop Billy has come up short of victory in his last two sprint races. However, with an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, he’s one of the best bred colts in this race and I think he will appreciate the stretch out in distance.
Union Rags, the sire of Free Drop Billy, was a competitive colt on the trail to the 2012 Kentucky Derby (G1), compiling an overall 5-1-1 record in eight career starts with $1,798,800 in earnings.
As a two year old, Union Rags won the Three Chimneys Saratoga Special (G2) and Champagne (G1) stakes and finished second in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) stakes.
At the age of three, Union Rags won the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth (G2) stakes and finished third in the Florida Derby (G1) en route to a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1). He finished his career with a narrow win by a neck over Paynter in the Belmont (G1) stakes.
Free Drop Billy was a yearling (Hip 104) I liked in session one at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. It remains to be seen if he can earn classic honors, however, if he lives up to his breeding he could be a factor on the Kentucky Derby Trail.
LONE SAILOR (12-1) comes into this race with a 1-0-0 record in two starts for trainer Tom Amoss including an 11-length maiden win last out over a muddy track at Saratoga. Here’ the video and chart call of that race:
LONE SAILOR tracked the pace on the outside, made a bid at the seven-sixteenths, vied in the three path on the turn, kicked clear into the stretch, drew away under the whip into the final sixteenth and was hand ridden to the wire while much the best.
Chasing fast fractions, Lone Sailor tracked the leader Mad Munnys then grabbed the lead in the far turn to pull away and break his maiden by an impressive 11 lengths. Lone Sailor also has an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and should appreciate the stretch out in distance.
Majestic Warrior, the sire of Lone Sailor, compiled a 2-0-0 in seven starts during his racing career with $239,229 in earnings including a win in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) and a fourth-place finish in the Woody Stephens Stakes (G2).
Currently Majestic Warrior stands stud in Japan and as a stallion he’s sired numerous graded stakes winners including: Princess of Sylmar, Best Warrior, Lady Sabelia, Declan's Warrior and Mavic.
Jockey Florent Geroux retains the mount on Lone Sailor who also has an A Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and I look for the pair to run a good race.
TEN CITY (10-1) is 2-0-2 in four starts for trainer Kenny McPeek with a win in the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3) and a third-place finish in both the Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes and Iroquois Stakes (G3). Here’s the video and chart call of his finish in the Iroquois:
TEN CITY was unhurried on early on while wide, swung into the sixth path in the far turn, made a bid in the stretch and was slowly gaining in the late stages.
Ten City raced near the back of the herd until the far turn when he made his move, passing horse and making up ground, to get up for third-place 3¾ lengths shy of victory.
Run Away and Hide, the sire of Ten City, was undefeated in three starts as a two year old and showed promise of good things to come on the Derby trail winning the Kentucky Stakes (G3) and the Saratoga Special (G2) before he was retired with a career-ending injury while in training for the fall racing season.
As a stallion, Run Away and Hide has sired numerous graded stakes winners such as Are You Kidding Me, a multimillion dollar earner and Sovereign Award Champion Older Male (twice), Heaven’s Runway, Mico Margarita, Take It Like A Man, Forever Young, Run Away and Ten City to name a few.
Ten City has a low Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® but his Behavior Index makes him competitive and I look for him to run a good race.
In his three previous starts, EZMOSH (6-1) has finished third, second and then first in his last race for trainer Brad Cox. Here’s the video and chart call:
EZMOSH disputed the pace along the inside, opened clear after a half, was kept to task and held sway.
Setting fast fractions, Ezmosh took a clear lead in the far turn to pull away and break his maiden by two lengths. Ezmosh has good speed and the final time of 1:35.82 is what I like to see in young colts on the Kentucky Derby Trail.
Tizway, the sire of Ezmosh, was a multiple graded stakes winner that raced for five season compiling a 7-1-5 record in 20 starts with $1,359,274 in career earnings.
Tizway made only one start as a two year old. During his first two racing season, he ran in maiden special weight races, breaking his maiden in his sixth start running nine furlongs at Woodbine.
During his racing career, Tizway’s most notable stakes wins were in the Kelso Handicap (G2), Metropolitan Handicap (G1) and Whitney Invitational Handicap (G1). He finished third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G3), Metropolitan Handicap (G1), Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) and the Charles Town Classic Stakes (G3).
Tizway also has a low Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® but he has good speed and that could potentially carry him the distance in this race.
Honorable mention goes to Enticed (15-1) who is also cross entered in the Champagne Stakes (G1) and expected to scratch.
2017/2018 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Bold d’Oro, 10, Mick Ruis, $360,000
2. The Tabulator, 10, Larry Rivelli, $126,750
3. Hollywood Star, 4, Dale Romans, $68,500
4. Solomini, 4, Bob Baffert, $60,000
5. Ten City, 2, Kenny McPeek, $83,300
6. Take the One O One, 2, Brian Koriner, $36,345
7. Ayacara, 1, Keith Desormeaux, $18,000
8. Ebben, 1, Steve Margolis , $7875
EUROPEAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Happily, 10, Aidan O’Brien,
2. Saxon Warrior (JPN), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $84,592
3. Roaring Lion (USA), 10, John Gosden, $75,986
4. Olmedo, 4, Jean-Claude Rouget,
5. Nelson (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $99,826
6. Delano Roosevelt (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $38,074
7. Masar, 2, Aidan O’Brien,
8. Mildenberger (ENG), 2, Mark Johnston, $64,634
9. Warm the Voice (IRE), 2, Brendan Duke, $12,904
10. Kew Gardens (IRE), 1, Aidan O’Brien, $28,605
11. Woodmax, 1, Nicolas Clement,
12. Petrus (IRE), 1, Brian Meehan, $7,182