Trainer Dale Romans indicated that 2018 Triple Crown contender Free Drop Billy could make the switch over to grass for the Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes on Saturday, Aug. 11. The 1 1/8-miles turf event for 3-year-olds is just one of five stakes carded for the Arlington International Festival of Racing. The Bruce D. Memorial Stakes, Grade III Pucker Up, Grade I Beverly D. and Grade I Arlington Million will also highlight the day.
Owned by Albaugh Family Stables, the son of Union Rags was a respective 16th and seventh behind Triple Crown winner Justify in the Grade I Kentucky Derby and the Grade I Belmont Stakes. He has not won since capturing a Grade I victory over Keeneland's main track in the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity last October.
Free Drop Billy is out of the Giant's Causeway mare Trensa who produced Hawkbill – a two-time Group 1 winner who took this year's Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan Racecourse during the Dubai Racing Club Carnival. The 5-year-old son of Kitten's Joy also won the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in July 2016.
“He's got a chance of running there,” said Romans. “His half-brother (Hawkbill) is one of the best grass horses in the world and we've been wanting to try him on grass.”
Romans has won two previous editions of the Secretariat Stakes with Paddy O'Prado (2010) and Kitten's Joy (2004).
Free Drop Billy was purchased by Albaugh Family Stables for $200,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale from when consigned by Gainesway. He was bred in Kentucky by Helen K. Groves Revokable Trust.
Other possible contenders for the Secretariat Stakes include Analyze It, Untamed Domain, Sniper Kitten, Captivating Moon and Nobrag Justfact.
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