Musical Romance, the 2011 champion female sprinter and Florida-bred Horse of the Year, returns to the track today in the $55,000 Mike Sherman Stakes at Calder Casino and Race Course. The 5-year-old mare is labeled as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the six and one-half furlong Sherman that has attracted a solid field of ten fillies and mare.
Trained by Bill Kaplan, who also co-owns her in partnership with Adam Lazarus’ Pinnacle Racing Stables, Musical Romance returns to her Calder base where she won the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap on July 7 two starts back. Since that victory, Musical Romance was third behind winner Dust and Diamonds in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park on Sept. 22.
But it has been her Florida home where she seems to perform best—at least this year. Since winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs in November, her only other win from six starts this year came at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., where she won the Grade 2 Inside Information Stakes in March. In two other starts outside the Sunshine State, the Ocala Stud bred daughter of Concorde’s Tune was fourth in the Madison Stakes at Keeneland in April and second in the Humana Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs in May, both times behind winner Groupie Doll.
Her regular rider Juan Leyva will be aboard Musical Romance when she breaks from post four.
The Sherman is expected to be her final preparation for her title defense in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint to be run at Santa Anita in Southern California Nov. 2. Just days after that race, Musical Romance has been catalogued to sell in the Fasig-Tipton November Breeding Stock Sale in Lexington, Ky., on Nov. 5.
Second choice at 3-1 in the morning line of the Mike Sherman is Spectacular Sky, breaking from post two. Trained by Martin Wolfson for Miller Racing LLC, Spectacular Sky comes into the Sherman on a three-race winning streak at Calder that began with a nine and one-quarter length romp against $25,000 optional claimers on July 19 in wire-to-wire fashion. She returned to win both the $51,000 Barbs Dancer Stakes on Aug. 5 and the $52,000 Whippleton Stakes on Sept. 8, both while leading from gate-to-wire at Calder.
Calder’s leading rider Luis Saez gets the return mount.
Wolfson will also saddle Nakano in the Mike Sherman, a 4-year-old filly that won the $51,000 Connie Ann Stakes at Calder in her last race. Before that she was third in the Princess Rooney to Musical Romance and third in Barb’s Dancer to Spectacular Sky, so a victory in the Sherman would avenge those losses to a degree.
Owned by Adam Corndorf and Andrew Cary’s Thoroughbred Futures Racing of New York City, Nakano will be ridden by Jermaine Bridgmohan from post seven. She is 6-1 in the program.
Another Florida-breds entered in the Mike Sherman is Callmethesqueeze, winner of the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat Stakes at Calder in July. Trained by Manuel Azpurua for breeder Gary Aiken of Dayton, Ohio, Callmethesqueeze was last seen finishing third to winner Angelica Zapata in the $75,000 Stage Door Betty Handicap at Calder on Sept. 22.
Photo by Coady