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Free Drop Billy wins Futurity - Union Rags has two qualified for the Breeders Cup

Free Drop Billy, by Union Rags, won the "win and you're in" $500,000, G1 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 7 to qualify for the Breeders' Cup at Del Mar in California on Nov. 3-4.

Paradise Woods, a filly by Union Rags, also is qualified for the Breeders' Cup by virtue of her win in the $300,000, G1 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 30.

Free Drop Billy at SaratogaFree Drop Billy at SaratogaFree Drop Billy's win capped off a week that saw eight of Union Rags' get win, from Paradise Woods on a G1 on Sept 30 to the 2 year 0lds Navajo, Saquero and Aristteles and the 3 year olds Hot Dixie Dame, Catalina Cruiser, Aiden's Rag and Union Blues to Free Drop billy on Oct. 7.

"It's unbelievable what a roll Union Rags is on," said Russell Jones, who owned the top bloodstock agency Walnut Green which he sold about six years ago. He now advises Union Rags' breeder and owner, Phyllis Wyeth, who is Jones' wife Donnan's cousin.

Union Rags is now the second Leading Second-Crop Sire behind Bodemeister, with 41 winners from124 starters and earnings of $3.72 million, to Bodemeister's 46 winners from 123 starters and $4.42 million.


BUT UNION RAGS has seven stakes winners of nine stakes, including three G1 races, while Bodemeister only has four stakes winners of six stakes.

At the end of the day, it's G1 winners that make a difference to breeders," said Jones. "The highest quality mares he gets are yet to come. Usually its a big boost to a stallion if he gets a good start."

"Union Rags' share price has gone up," said Jones. "It's above  a half million a share now. It probably started at around $300,000 a share."

Free Drop Billy has improved in each race as the distances lengthened, and next year, when the races are longer, he should do very well.

Free Drop Billy ran second by a length to Firenze Fire in the 6 furlong, G3 Sanford Stakes at Saratoga on July 22, then ran second by a neck to Sporting Chance in the 7 furlong G1 Hopeful on Sept. 4.

Free Drop Billy then won the 1 1/16 mile Futurity by four lengths in a race that was marred by Ten City breaking down and having to be humanely destroyed after being vanned off.

Frank Angst, writing in the Bloodhorse, said that the race was weak for a G1 and that Free Drop Billy would not win the Breeders' Cup.

"Free Drop Billy beat everything that came against him in that race, and he did it easily," said Jones.

The Breeders' Cup Juvenile is also run at 1 1/16 miles.

Firenze Fire, who won the Champagne at Belmont on the same day as the Futurity, is also qualified for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, as are Bolt d'Oro and The Tabulater.

Paradise Woods is qualified for the $2 million Distaff, and that means she will have to race against older fillies.

Qualified for the $2 million Distaff are challenge winners Forever Bridled, Romantic Vision, Steller Wind, Abel Tasman, Elate, It Tis Well qnd Roly Poly.

The Distaff, run at 1 1/8 mile, is on Friday, Nov. 3, and the J$2 million Juvenile is on Saturday, Nov. 4.


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