11/04/2011 5:45PM

Breeders' Cup: Musical Romance upends Filly & Mare Sprint at 20-1

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Tom Keyser
The Calder-based Musical Romance comes up the rail under Juan Leyva to upset the Filly and Mare Sprint.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Musical Romance angled to the rail to overtake favored Turbulent Descent inside the eighth pole and went on to a 20-1 upset Friday in the fifth running of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs.

The most experienced horse in a field of 12, and the only one based at Calder in south Florida, Musical Romance used a devastating late run to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths under jockey Juan Leyva. Switch, the 2010 runner-up in this race and the 3-1 second choice, rallied late to be second again, a head before Her Smile. Pomeroys Pistol was fourth, another 2 1/2 lengths back, while Turbulent Descent, the 7-5 favorite, endured a tough trip when finishing fifth.

Musical Romance returned $42.40 after finishing the seven-furlong distance in 1:23.47 over a track rated good.

Bill Kaplan is the trainer of Musical Romance, a 4-year-old Florida-bred who was making her 33rd career start. Kaplan is a co-owner with the Pinnacle Racing Stable partnership managed by Adam Lazarus, who said he “never thought we’d be here” in the joyous aftermath of the Filly and Mare Sprint. Lazarus said Musical Romance sustained a fractured ankle early in her career and hopes were not particularly high for her at that time.

"This is the pinnacle,” said Kaplan, well aware of the pun. “She is really special. She has such speed that she puts herself wherever she needs to be.”

“This is very special race to win,” said Leyva, 27. “When I was younger, I didn’t want to be a jockey. I wanted to be a football player. But this is what I do, and I love what I do.”

Golden Mystery led down the backstretch, pursued closest by Tamarind Hall and Pomeroys Pistol. Meanwhile, Turbulent Descent was trying to make up ground lost by a rough start but encountered traffic nearing the half-mile pole before finally finding a clear outside path. As the field turned for home, she finally reached the front, but then had no response for Musical Romance, who had closely tracked those leaders and was angled to the rail by Leyva shortly after straightening away.

Turbulent Descent, making her first start in three months, “got squeezed pretty hard coming out of there,” said jockey David Flores. “She just ran off a little bit with me. If you make an early move on this track, it’s hard.”

Musical Romance had been steady, if not spectacular, in 13 races this year, including a neck victory in the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters and a near-miss second in the Grade 3 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland in her last two starts. Lazarus and Kaplan were confident enough to make the filly eligible to the BC program for the rest of her career by paying a $100,000 late nominating fee.

After the top five, the complete order was Champagne d’Oro, Golden Mystery, Irish Gypsy, Tanda, Tamarind Hall, Great Hot, and Tar Heel Mom.

Musical Romance keyed a $2 exacta (5-6) that paid $177; a $1 trifecta (5-6-11) that paid $2,432.90; and a dime superfecta (5-6-11-12) worth $1,540.48.

Shotgun Gulch, the longest shot in the field at the time, was scratched at the gate because she was “off in the left forelimb,” according to the Breeders’ Cup on-call veterinary spokesman, Dr. Wayne McIlwraithe, who further described her apparent condition as “not serious.”