Musical Romance accomplished both the immediate and long-term missions for her owners on Saturday at Calder Casino & Race Course.
In her final race on her home track, the 2011 national distaff sprint champion beat Golden Mystery by three-quarters of a length in the $55,000 Mike Sherman Memorial Stakes.
“This sets up where we want to be,” said Bill Kaplan, the trainer and part owner of Musical Romance.
That is the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (Grade 1) on Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
Musical Romance won that race last year at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky. In voting by racing writers and industry officials, she later won the Eclipse Award as Champion Female Sprinter.
“She is better than last year,” Kaplan said. “She is bigger, stronger and happier. She is like an iron horse.”
Kaplan owns Musical Romance in a partnership with Pinnacle Racing Stables. Most of Pinnacle’s members, including managing partner Adam Lazarus, live in South Florida.
The Breeders’ Cup will be the final race for Musical Romance before she becomes a broodmare. Kaplan and Pinnacle have scheduled her for sale at the Fasig-Tipton sale in Lexington, Ky., the week of Nov. 5.
The Mike Sherman was Saturday’s co-feature at Calder.
Dual Exhauzt gained his first stakes victory as he led the entire route and beat Black Diamond Cat by 1 1/4 lengths in the $75,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap.
Both stakes were 6 1/2 furlongs on dirt for 3-year-olds and up, with the Mike Sherman restricted to fillies and mares,
The Mike Sherman had just six horses and the Kenny Noe had just four. Both fields were reduced by scratches, including two in each race by trainer Marty Wolfson.
Wolfson entered the speedy filly Spectacular Sky in both races. He scratched her from both because he said he did not like the inside posts she drew.
He said he hopes to run Spectacular Sky in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint or in the Chilukki, a non-Breeders’ Cup stakes at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.
Kaplan said the scratches did not make a difference in his tactics for the Mike Sherman.
The goal was to have regular jockey Juan Leyva ride with his usual stalking style.
Golden Mystery, trained by Wolfson, led the 3-5 favorite Musical Romance by 1 1/2 lengths after a half mile in 45.83 seconds.
Musical Romance then began gaining and passed Golden Mystery in midstretch.
The win was Musical Romance’s third in seven starts this year. On July 7, she won the Princess Rooney Handicap (Grade 1) at Calder. Musical Romance is scheduled to leave Calder for good on Oct. 23, when Kaplan puts her on a plane to California.
In the Kenny Noe Jr., bettors made the speedy Dual Exhauzt the 3-5 favorite. Jesus Rios rode Dual Exhauzt, who won in 1:37.31.
Festival of the Sun
Calder will have its annual Festival of the Sun, with five stakes races, on Saturday.
The co-features will be the final legs in the annual Florida Stallion Stakes series for 2-year-olds.
The In Reality for males and the My Dear Girl for fillies both have $300,000 purses and are 1 1/16 miles on dirt.
The Festival of the Sun also will have the $100,000 Spend A Buck Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on dirt for 3-year-olds and up.