One day after a brisk five-furlong workout, co-owner Jason Loutsch said Tuesday morning that Free Drop Billy will run in the Belmont Stakes.
"I guess our main thing coming out of the Kentucky Derby was, obviously, we were really disappointed," said Loutsch. "We feel he's a better horse than that, and we're going to cross that one off. We wanted to see how he bounced back after that race, and yesterday he showed us he has a lot of energy and is a happy horse. He galloped out really strong, and Dale's been really happy with his training.
"This is a huge race, a big stage, and this is what we're in the game for: to run in big races. This is a great opportunity. We know it's going to be a very tough challenge. But if we can get a piece of it, even hitting the board is a huge accomplishment, and we're excited for the opportunity."
Loutsch said it didn't take much discussion with Albaugh.
"No, no," he said. "He loves the big races. I just had to point out the pros and cons to him, try to educate him as best I could about all the circumstances. In the end, he's like, 'This horse only gets one chance to run in the Belmont. He deserves the opportunity; let's give it to him.' His dad (Union Rags) was a Belmont winner, and he's out of a Giant's Causeway mare. He's bred to go the distance. We just hope he runs to his breeding."
After Bravazo had another lively gallop under exercise rider Danielle Rosier, this morning at Churchill Downs, trainer D. Wayne Lukas was optimistic.
"He's had a good week," said Lukas. "Good energy, bucking and jumping during his gallops, which is kind of unusual."
Lukas reiterated Bravazo will have one work between the Preakness and Belmont, possibly this Thursday. "I'm going to play it by ear," he said. "It could be tomorrow, Thursday, Friday."
Lukas, who was on the track on his pony, got a close look at Justify's work, joking, "I tried to keep Bravazo from looking at him because I didn't want him to go off his feed and be intimidated, so we had to be careful. I told Danielle, 'When he goes by, just kind of cover that right eye.' He's actually buying into what we're doing pretty good. He's a much better horse than I took to the Preakness, I know that. He'll have to be."
Of Justify's work, Lukas said, "His efficiency of motion is so good and so effortless. That work today, I thought he could have gone in :50 the way he did it. It was just effortless, there was no effort at all. When you have that efficiency of motion like that, I think the mile and a half is well within his scope."
Tenfold had a walk day Tuesday after galloping two miles on Monday. Scott Blasi, assistant trainer to Steve Asmussen, said the Preakness Stakes third-place finisher is expected to have his one pre-Belmont work this Saturday.
Edited NYRA release