Musical Romance has been at Santa Anita Park since this Monday and “seems to know this is something special,” her co-owner Adam Lazarus said on Wednesday night.
That something is Saturday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Grade 1) at the picturesque track in Arcadia, Calif.
It is special for Musical Romance because she is the defending champion and her South Florida-based owners have decided it will be the last race of her storybook-like career.
The 5-year-old mare, whose home track has been Calder Casino & Race Course, is scheduled to be sold as a broodmare Monday at the Fasig-Tipton Sale in Lexington, Ky.
“It will be emotional to lose her, but we think it is time,” said Bill Kaplan, Musical Romance’s trainer and co-owner.
Some mares with records like Musical Romance are sold for more than $1 million.
Kaplan and Pinnacle Racing Stables, headed by Aventura resident Lazarus, bought her for $22,000 at a 2009 sale in Ocala. She has won12 of 40 starts and earned $1,681,885.
Last year’s Breeders’ Cup race was on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.
Musical Romance went off at 20-1 under regular jockey Juan Leyva. They took the lead in mid-stretch and went on to beat Switch by 1 1/4 lengths.
Kaplan this year has raced Musical Romance just seven times, with three wins.
“Our goal was to get her back to the Breeders’ Cup at her peak, and she is absolutely looking and training as good as ever,” he said.
Groupie Doll, the even-money favorite, beat Musical Romance in two of their three meetings this year. Musical Romance is the 4-1 second choice in the morning line.
Toby Callet, the handicapper for Calder’s daily program, thinks those odds are realistic.
Musical Romance and Switch could benefit because Saturday’s race is seven furlongs rather than six furlongs that is more common for sprint stakes, he said.
The Filly & Mare Sprint has a scheduled post time of 3:35 p.m. on Saturday and will be carried live on the NBC Sports cable channel.
Musical Romance is part of one of the largest recent groups of Breeders’ Cup horses with owners or trainers who live in South Florida.
The feature race on Friday is the Ladies Classic, at 1 1/8 miles on dirt with scheduled post time of 7:30 p.m.
Benjamin Leon, founder of Leon Medical Centers which owns seven South Florida hospitals, owns the defending champion and favorite Royal Delta.
The unbeaten Awesome Feather, the main rival to Royal Delta, swept the 2010 Florida Stallion Stakes series at Calder and won that year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs.
She was then owned by Fred Brei of Ocala and trained by Stan Gold. In November 2010, Brei sold Awesome Feather to Frank Stronach in a private sale.
These male horses with South Florida connections will race on Saturday in Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup stakes”
• Mucho Macho Man (Classic,1 1/4 miles) is trained by Broward County resident Kathy Ritvo. Her husband, Tim Ritvo, is Gulfstream’s president.
Mucho Macho Man, a 4-year-old colt, this year won two major races at Gulfstream and one at Belmont Park. He finished third in the 2011 Kentucky Derby.
• Speak Logistics (Juvenile, 1 1/16 miles) is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., who is fourth in all-time Calder wins. Ralph Nabavi, the colt’s owner, has homes in Davie and on Long Island, N.Y.
On Oct.13, the 2-year-old Speak Logistics won the In Reality Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on dirt at Calder.
• Little Mike (Turf, 1 1/2 miles) is owned by Carlo and Priscilla Vaccarezza, who live in Parkland.
Little Mike, a 5-year-old gelding, this year won major turf stakes at Gulfstream, Churchill Downs and Arlington Park in Arlington Heights, Ill.
• Trinniberg (Sprint, six furlongs) is owned and trained by Shivananda Parbhoo of Davie.
The 3-year-old colt won three seven-furlong stakes races this year. He finished 17th in the Kentucky Derby, his only race at a mile or longer.
• Turbo Compressor (Turf, 1 1/2 miles) is owned by a partnership of P and G Stables and Off the Hook Racing. Both stables’ owners live in Miami-Dade or Broward counties,
Turbo Compressor, a 4-year-old, won this year’s United Nations Handicap (Grade 1) on turf at Monmouth Park.