10/11/2011 1:09PM

Calder: Musical Romance iffy for BC

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Musical Romance (1), with Juan Leyva riding, comes up a head short in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes.

MIAMI, Fla. – What a difference a few feet can make. That was the distance Musical Romance came from winning Saturday’s Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland and an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

Musical Romance, who was officially beaten a head by Holiday for Kitten in the TCA, returned to Calder on Tuesday and is doing well, according to trainer Bill Kaplan, who owns Musical Romance, a daughter of Concorde’s Tune, in partnership with Pinnacle Racing Stable.

“I was totally proud of her performance, I think that might have been the best race she’s ever run, she finished in front of some really nice horses, and as usual Juan [Leyva] gave her a perfect ride,” said Kaplan. “I watched the replay and tried to find something he might have done wrong that would have cost her a head, but I couldn’t. That was the eighth perfect trip in a row for this filly since he’s started riding her. I think Juan has reached a new level this year with his riding, especially with this filly.”

Although obviously disappointed Musical Romance did not win, the result of the TCA does make Kaplan’s decision of whether to run or pass the Filly and Mare Sprint a little easier.

“She’s not Breeders’ Cup eligible, so either way we still have to come up with $100,000 to nominate,” said Kaplan. “Had she won, it would have saved us the entry and shipping costs and made it a little more tempting to go. But even at that, it would have been a hard decision, since basically she’d have to finish second just for us to break even. She’s healthy to run, and I’d love to run her because I think she can be very competitive in there, and a good performance in the Breeders’ Cup would certainly increase her value as a broodmare. I’m just not sure the economics are right for us.”

Kaplan said there is still a slight chance Musical Romance, who won the Grade 2 Presque Isle Masters and was second earlier this year in Calder’s Grade 1 Princess Rooney, could still compete in the F & M Sprint.

“I was approached about selling her before the race at Keeneland but we’re really not interested in selling unless we get an offer that’s too good to refuse,” said Kaplan. “But the people did say they might be interested in sponsoring her for the Filly and Mare Sprint, putting up the nomination fees to own her for the race and split the purse. If they get back to me and are still interested, I’d definitely give it serious thought.”

Eldafeer won the Breeders’ Cup Marathon under a similar arrangement last year.

Kaplan said if Musical Romance does not go to the Breeders’ Cup she will be freshened and likely pointed for a stakes opening week at Gulfstream Park, the Grade 3, $100,000 Sugar Swirl going six furlongs on Dec. 10.

“We’ve really had a great run with her this season and she can use a little break, but she’s not going to be retired, she will race again next year,” said Kaplan.