Champion Musical Romance, who disappointed in her 2012 debut after some bad luck, will have a chance to rebound when she meets 10 rivals in the $150,000 Inside Information (gr. II) March 17 at Gulfstream Park.
The daughter of Concorde's Tune finished a troubled fourth in the six-furlong Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint in her season bow Jan. 28 at Gulfstream. She will stretch back out to seven furlongs for the Inside Information, which is the distance at which she won the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) last November to lock up champion female sprinter honors.
Co-owned and trained by Bill Kaplan, the 5-year-old filly will have all she can handle in the Gulfstream feature where she will meet R Holiday Mood—already with a pair of wins over the track this year for leading trainer Todd Pletcher. Also in the mix is grade I winner Her Smile and the consistent Groupie Doll.
Post time for the Inside Information is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. EDT.
A dark bay/brown mare, Musical Romance is winless in five starts on the Gulfstream dirt, having finished off the board in all of them. She has worked twice since her last race, both at her home base of Calder Race Course & Slots. Kaplan has assigned Juan Leyva to ride and they will break from post 5.
“She grabbed herself pretty good coming out of the gate,” said Kaplan, explaining her troubled trip in the Sunshine Millions. “A horse outside of her acted up just as the gate opened. She also bent a shoe and took a piece of a quarter off. There was actually a small puncture wound (foot), but she‘s fine now and ready to go.”
Bred in Florida by Ocala Stud and out of the Slew Gin Fizz mare Candlelightdinner, Musical Romance has produced a 9-5-7 record from 34 starts and earnings of more than $1.2 million. Her other graded stakes win in 2011 came in the Presque Isle Downs Masters (gr. II).
E Paul Robsham’s homebred R Holiday Mood notched her first graded victory in the Feb. 19 Hurricane Bertie (gr. III) at 6 1/2 furlongs, hanging on by a neck over current entrant Funny Sunny. Her Smile was 2 1/2 lengths farther back.
R Holiday Mood, also victorious in the Jan. 8 Ocala Stakes at one mile, has won five of her eight lifetime starts. She is likely to be part of the early pace yet again with John Velazquez in the irons.
Whisper Hill Farm’s Funny Sunny hit the board for the first time in three graded tries in the Hurricane Bertie, as she dueled with R Holiday Mood for most of the stretch but was never able to get by her rival. The Sharp Humor filly had a decisive optional claiming win over the track back in January. Kent Desormeaux will have the mount for Bob Hess.
“She’s A-plus right now and obviously likes the Gulfstream track,” said Hess of her two wins and two seconds in as many starts over the track. “We bought her from WinStar in November ($380,000 in 2010 at the Keeneland November sale) after she broke her maiden at Hoosier Park in her first career start a month before.
“She popped a splint after she won here last year and we gave her all the time off she needed, which is the way Amanda Pope (Whisper Hill Farm owner) operates; doing the right thing for the horses.”
Her Smile was third in her season debut, one start after also being third in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs. The Hurricane Bertie was her first start for Stronach Stables and trainer Chad Brown after being purchased for $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall 2011 mixed sale just after the Breeders’ Cup. She has won four of 14 lifetime starts including the Prioress (gr. I) last summer at Belmont. She drew post 11 for the Inside Information.
Co-owned and trained by Buff Bradley, Groupie Doll cuts back after finishing third in the 1 1/16-mile Sabin (gr. III) on Feb. 25. She was beaten eight lengths that day by Awesome Maria, but was only a head back of champion Royal Delta, the runner-up. Groupie Doll is 4-3-1 from 10 lifetime starts, including a grade III tally.
$150,000 Inside Information (gr. II, Race 10, 5:35 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 7 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Belle of the Hall (FL), E Trujillo, 117, T Albertrani
2. Persuading (KY), J L Castanon, 117, D L Romans
3. Catch a Thief (MD), J R Leparoux, 117, T A Hills
4. Funny Sunny (KY), K J Desormeaux, 117, R B Hess Jr.
5. Musical Romance (FL), J C Leyva, 123, W A Kaplan
6. R Holiday Mood (FL), J R Velazquez, 119, T A Pletcher
7. Much Rejoicing (KY), J Lezcano, 117, J J Toner
8. Hot Summer (VA), L Saez, 119, D Fawkes
9. Groupie Doll (KY), R Maragh, 119, W Bradley
10. Magical Feeling (KY), R Alvarado Jr., 121, A Iwinski
11. Her Smile (VA), J Castellano, 119, C C Brown