Musical Romance and Juan Leyva take the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes.

Musical Romance and Juan Leyva take the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes.

Coady Photography

Musical Romance Holds On in PID Masters

Concorde's Tune daughter holds off late charge by favorite Ariana D.

South Florida shipper Musical Romance held off a fast-closing Ariana D to win the $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes (gr. II), the marquee race of the Presque Isle Downs meet (VIDEO).

The 4-year-old daughter of Concorde's Tune—Candlelightdinner, by Slew Gin Fizz, was ridden by Juan Leyva, who has now won four races in six rides on Musical Romance and the pair have never been out of the money. The Sept. 10 race was the filly’s first graded stakes victory.

“She is awesome, and this jockey and her have something going,” said trainer William Kaplan.

The filly was bred in Florida by Ocala Stud and is owned by Kaplan and Pinnacle Racing Stable.

Musical Romance bided her time early, content to sit in third off the early leaders Waccamaw and Promised Mandate. The opening fractions in the 6 1/2-furlong race were a brisk :22.01 and :44.80. Coming out of the turn, Waccamaw went toward the rail and Promised Mandate drifted out, leaving a significant gap for Musical Romance to slide through and take the lead.

The winner was pulling away from the tiring front runners just as favorite Ariana D and Shotgun Gulch were unleashing powerful runs in the middle of the track. The closers gobbled up large chunks of Tapeta real estate in deep stretch. Ariana D. and rider Kent Desormeaux nearly caught Musical Romance, falling a neck short at the wire. Shotgun Gulch was another half-length back in third, just a neck ahead of fourth-place Promised Mandate. The final time was 1:16.40.

“I thought there would be a lot more speed in the race,” said Leyva. “I just waited for a seam, slipped through and made our run.”

Kaplan picked Musical Romance out of the 2009 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring 2-year-olds in training sale, paying $22,000 on behalf of Pinnacle Stables. The filly has now won eight times in 31 starts and has career earnings of $637,850. Her 4-year-old season has been by far and away her strongest, with four wins, two seconds, and a third out of 12 starts, and earnings of $460,734.

Ocala Stud not only bred Musical Romance, but the Central Florida operation also bred Candlelightdinner and her dam Romantic Dinner. Both the winner’s sire, Concorde’s Tune, and broodmare sire, Slew Gin Fizz, stood at Ocala Stud.

The winner paid $19.80, $6.60, and $4.60. Ariana D. paid $5 and $3.40, while Shotgun Gulch paid $3.80. The $2 exacta was worth $86.80 and the $2 trifecta returned $612.80.