Musical Romance drills at Calder before leaving for BC swan song

At her Calder base on Thursday, defending Filly & Mare Sprint champion Musical Romance splashed five furlongs in :59 4/5, by far the best of three works at the distance on the sloppy main track.

Approximately nine hours later, Pinnacle Racing Stables Inc. and Bill Kaplan's champion female sprinter departed Calder aboard a Brookledge van bound for Kentucky, the first-leg of a two-tiered journey to California where the mare will seek a Breeders' Cup title defense on November 3 in what is expected to be her final start.

"Sure this is a goodbye moment," Kaplan said with tablet in hand, recording every moment as the daughter of Concorde's Tune boarded the van and prepared to pass the Calder stable gate for the final time. "But we'll see her again in California, and again at Fasig-Tipton when she sells. Then again, if I don't get the price I want, maybe I'll buy her back myself and bring her back home."

Purchased for $22,000 from the 2009 OBS Two-Year-Olds in Training Spring Sale, Musical Romance first shipped to Calder on April 24 of that year and made her first start in mid-September, finishing third against maiden special weight rivals. That outing would be the first of 25 that the dark bay would make at Calder alone, where she would win stakes on both turf and dirt, going long or short, including a victory in the meet's premier race, the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap.

"I can still remember the day she came in," Kaplan reminisced. "And she's been such an iron horse ever since; a real throw back. She's been nothing but a thrill for everyone involved. You can see that looking at the crowd she's brought out just to see her leave this afternoon."

Among those gathered at the chute to watch Musical Romance depart was her groom Francisco Garvay, who led the mare up and has been with her since day one.

"It's sad to see her leave," Garvay said while peering up at the van that held his prized mare. "Working with a horse that has ability like that has been very special. I'm excited because she's running again in such a big race, but I wish she was coming back and it's sad because I know she isn't."

Also in the crowd gathered to see Musical Romance off was co-owner Phil Edell, who will join the Musical Romance contingent at Santa Anita later next week.

"She's been fantastic; just a dream," Edell said. "I've been in this business only about five years and she was just my third horse. I'm going to miss her, and I'll get one more chance to see her in California, but knowing that she isn't coming back is tough; there will be an empty spot in my heart.

"It's been a great run. Now let's see if we can finish it up with one more."

Also boarding the Brookledge van to begin his journey west was Ralph Nabavi's Speak Logistics, the winner of the $300,000 In Reality division of the Florida Stallion Stakes who will start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.

"I get there Saturday," assistant trainer Frankie Perez said as he helped load the colt. "And Eddie is expected to be at Santa Anita on Wednesday."

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