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Reminiscing about Musical Romance

The second of ten FHBPA sponsored $100,000 Stakes Races went into the books May 18th, when the Kathleen O’Connell trained Stormy Embrace romped home in the “Musical Romance.” The race was named after the Breeders Cup winning filly, owned by Pinnacle Racing Stable and trained by now retired Bill Kaplan.

We took a walk down memory lane last week reviewing their remarkable run with the South Florida based connections. As a two year old filly in 2009, Musical Romance was recommended by Kaplan to Adam Lazarus, who manages Pinnacle Racing Stable, and was purchased for $22,000 out of the OBS sale. Once the filly arrived at Kaplan’s barn at Calder Race Course, the road took a shocking and unexpected turn. On day 2 of her training, the filly fractured a pastern bone that required surgery and a four month rehabilitation up in Ocala. Lazarus said, “You can imagine the frustration, but we decided to stay the course and she came back to Bill ready to run.”

The filly went to the post 41 times and recorded a record of 12 wins, 6 seconds, and 8 shows, earning $1,681,885 in a career that spanned 4 years. It was in her 3-year-old campaign, that she loomed among the best sprinters in the nation, but had not been nominated to the  2011 Breeders Cup that was to be contested at Churchill Downs. According to Adam, “It was all Bill’s call on that one, as you might imagine, there were mixed feelings about scratching out a check for $135,000 to supplement into the race. Turned out to be the best decision we’ve ever made.”

On that November 4th afternoon under the Twin Spires at 20-1, Musical Romance rolled home 1 ¼ lengths to the good and banked $540,000 for her efforts. “She took us to the top of the mountain,” recalled Kaplan.

Musical Romance winning the 2011 Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint

Following her win in the BC F&M Sprint, she went on to record 3 more Stakes victories, giving her a total of 9 in her career. She was retired in 2012, and was purchased out of a Fasig Tipton sale for $1.6 million by interests in Japan, where she remains and has produced 3 foals to date.

Kaplan retired a few years ago after training for 35 plus years. “Thanks to the horse that made it all possible for me.” Now enjoying his golf game and an interest in flying model airplanes, Bill says he doesn’t miss the day to day track life. “No, I like things just the way they are today, and to be honest it was a great ride and I wouldn’t have changed a thing.” Bill remains one of the most respected of the “old guard” from those days when Calder flourished, he was a former member of the FHBPA Board of Directors and a first-class gentleman all the way.

As for Lazarus, a current FHBPA Board Member, and Pinnacle Racing Stable, they remain in the racing game and continue to develop successful runners. Says Adam, “You never know what will come along, but having experienced a horse like Musical Romance was a life changer for sure, she was the best.”