Musical Romance Upset Winner of F&M Sprint
Pinnacle Racing Stable and trainer Bill Kaplan’s 20-1 longshot Musical Romance pulled away on the inside in the stretch to take the $909,000 Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs (VIDEO) .
Switch, second in last year's Filly & Mare Sprint, edged Her Smile by a head to be second once again. It was another 2 ½ lengths farther back to Pomeroys Pistol. Favored Turbulent Descent finished fifth after a troubled trip that included getting squeezed at the start.
Musical Romance broke second and was challenging the early front-runner Golden Mystery, who completed a quarter mile in :22.40. After a half mile in :45.71, Musical Romance was running in fourth. At mid-stretch, Musical Romance was third, battling for the lead, with Turbulent Descent and Pomeroys Pistol, but she proved to be the strongest. Switch and Her Smile then blew by Musical Romance’s former challengers as the wire neared.
“This filly, I just need to let her do whatever she wants to do in the beginning," Leyva said, "and down the lane I need to get into her a little bit, but I always try to save enough with her for the end.
The victory improved Musical Romance’s career record to nine wins in 33 career races. The 4-year-old filly previously had captured five added-money events, including this year’s Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (gr. II). In her most recent start Oct. 8, she was second by a head to Holiday for Kitten in Keeneland's six-furlong Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. II) on Polytrack.
Musical Romance has raced 14 times in 2011, winning five.
The winning purse, $540,000, boosted Musical Romance's career bankroll to $1,217,850.
Kaplan, as agent for Pinnacle, purchased Musical Romance for $22,000 from her breeder, Ocala Stud, agent, at the 2009 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. spring sale of 2-year-olds in training.
"She’s just awesome," said an overjoyed Kaplan. "She’s getting better and better and better. I don’t care if she runs 13 or 14 times a year, she gets better with every shot. I was confident she’d run good, but I didn’t know she would beat these horses. She has such speed and she can place herself wherever she wants to. And when Juan wants her to go, she just goes. This is it, this is the pinnacle!”
Florida-bred Musical Romance, who is out of the Slew Gin Fizz mare Candlelightdinner, paid $42.40, $15.60, and $8.60. Switch returned $4.80 and $3.40. Her Smile paid $12.40.
“I thought she had a very unfortunate trip," trainer John Sadler said of Switch. "She didn't break all that well. She was last, and had to come wide. I thought she was the best horse in the race.”
Trainer Mike Puype lamented a rough trip for Turbulent Descent, who led narrowly at mid-stretch before weakening.
Veterinarians advised stewards to scratch Shotgun Gulch from the Filly & Mare Sprint at the starting gate, reducing the field to 12, because she was "off on the left forelimb," according to Dr. C. Wayne McIlwraith, an on-call veterinarian for the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
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