Updated on 07/07/2012 7:16PM

Calder: Musical Romance turns back Nicole H to win Princess Rooney

Coady Photography
Musical Romance wins the Grade 1 Princess Rooney by a half-length over Nicole H.

MIAMI -  Musical Romance was run down in the final strides of the 2011 Princess Rooney Handicap by Sassy Image. She wasn’t about to let the same thing happen two years in a row.

Musical Romance capped off an incredible day for trainer Bill Kaplan when she dug  in gamely through the final sixteenth of a mile and withstood a valiant try by Nicole H  to register a half-length decision in Calder’s only Grade 1 race, the $400,000 Princess Rooney Handicap. 

Kaplan spent much of the morning in the emergency room at a nearby hospital after suffering a case of dehydration at his barn. He spent much of the afternoon in the winner’s circle at Calder, not only with Musical Romance following the Princess Rooney but also alongside Another Romance after she rallied from last to upset the Grade 3 Azalea.

Musical Romance benefitted from a very patient ride by her regular jockey, Juan Leyva. Rating just off the early pace of Golden Mystery, Musical Romance remained in hand while kept near the inside as the field neared the stretch. She eased out and overtook the leader leaving the eighth pole only to be engaged by Nicole H, who appeared to have dead aim on the favorite at that point. But the defending Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner proved equal to the challenge, holding on resolutely to her narrow advantage while at the same time erasing memories of her hard luck setback in last year’s Princess Rooney. 

“Last year when Sassy Image went by her, she never saw her because Sassy Image was out in the middle of the track,” said Kaplan. “She saw this filly today and she wasn’t going to let her get by. These fillies are remarkable. Both Another Romance and Musical Romance ran their hearts out for us today.”

Musical Romance paid $4.20 as the even-money favorite in a field of 11 older fillies and mares, six of whom were trained by Marty Wolfson, whose Nakano rallied to finish third.

Kaplan said the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga could be on the radar for Musical Romance along with the Grade 2 Presque Isle Masters, a race she won during her championship campaign in 2011.

Callmethesqueeze dominant in Hollywood Wildcat

Callmethesqueeze put a punctuation mark on Saturday’s Summit of Speed program at Calder when she stormed to a six-length victory in the $100,000 Hollywood Wildcat Stakes for older fillies and mares on the turf. Brinca rallied to be second, a head before Trip for A.J.

Jose Alvarez rode Callmethesqueeze ($11.80) to victory for trainer Manny Azpurua.