Musical Romance, champion female sprinter for last year, was named Florida's Horse of the Year during the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association's annual awards dinner March 11.
The now 5-year-old daughter of Concorde's Tune--Candlelightdinner (by Slew Gin Fizz) won five stakes in 2011 including the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I).
A $22,000 purchase out of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Company's April 2-year-olds in training sale, Musical Romance blossomed under the tutelage of veteran Florida trainer Bill Kaplan, who purchased her out of the consignment of her breeder, Ocala Stud. Kaplan, who co-owns the filly with Adam Lazarus’ Pinnacle Racing Stables, had an iron horse on his hands. Musical Romance made 13 starts as a 3-year-old in 2010, and came back in 2011 to race 14 times.
Musical Romance picked up her first stakes win of 2011 in the Ema Bovary Stakes at Calder Casino & Race Course, then followed that with a win at Calder about three weeks later in the U Can Do It Handicap. She gave notice of her improving condition when she next finished second by a neck to Sassy Image in the grade I Princess Rooney Handicap. Musical Romance won her first graded stakes of the year in the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (gr. II). In her prior start to the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs, she finished second by a head to Holiday for Kitten in the Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. II) and ahead of Switch, who finished third.
The champion ended the year with five wins and four places out 14 starts and earnings of $1,040,734. Musical Romance's career earnings to date total $1,225,350.
Other Florida champions honored are as follows:
2-year-old Colt: Fort Loudon
2-year-old Filly: Candrea
3-year-old Colt: Brilliant Speed
3-year-old Filly: Turbulent Descent
Older Male: Flat Out
Older Female: Musical Romance
Male Sprinter: Jackson Bend
Turf Male: Teaks North
Turf Female: Bay to Bay
2011 Florida Stallion of the Year: Wildcat Heir
2011 Leading Florida Juvenile Sire: Awesome of Course
2011 Leading Florida Freshman Sire: High Cotton
Florida Broodmare of the Year: Candlelightdinner, dam of Musical Romance
2011 Needles Award: John & Carole Rio, breeders of Mucho Macho Man
2011 Joe O'Farrell Memorial Award
Consignor: Ocala Stud, which sold Musical Romance
2011 Leading Owner by Florida-bred Earnings: Live Oak Plantation
2011 Leading Florida trainers of Florida-breds by earnings & stakes wins (tie): David Fawkes and Stanley Gold
2011 Leading Florida trainer of Florida-breds by races won: Kathleen O'Connell