The Loop

Free Drop Billy? He's not a thieving golf partner, but he could cost you money (or earn you some) in the Kentucky Derby

November 09, 2017
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Free Drop Billy sounds like one of the bandits from Dan Jenkins’ misspent youth at Goat Hills. Or any one of the golf partners to whom you usually lose. He is neither, though gambling is a part of his existence.

Free Drop Billy is in fact a thoroughbred with a reasonable chance at running in the Kentucky Derby next May.

Obviously the horse was named by someone with an affinity for golf. That would be its owner, Dennis Albaugh, an Iowa billionaire and namesake of the Albaugh Family Stables. Here’s explaining how Free Drop took his name:

“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.”

Albaugh, dubbed the Prince of Pesticides based on the business that brought him his wealth, is a member of Glen Oaks Country Club in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Naples National Country Club in Naples, Fla. He also has his own private course, Talons of Tuscany, in Ankeny, Iowa.

Free Drop Billy’s namesake is Bill Collins, who also is a member at Naples National.

“Free Drop Billy looked like he had potential Kentucky Derby class when he romped away to win the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland,” Alastair Bull of wrote.

Expectations for Free Drop Billy were high at last week’s Breeders Cup Juvenile, but Free Drop Billy ran ninth in the race at Del Mar Racetrack in San Diego, “where the turf meets the surf,” as another golf junkie and horse race enthusiast Bing Crosby sang.

Still, Free Drop Billy turns up in Kentucky Derby futures odds, 25 to 1, according to Vegas Insider.