10/04/2012 1:16PM

Calder: Musical Romance using Mike Sherman as her Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint prep

Coady Photography
Trainer Bill Kaplan says the timing of the Mike Sherman is perfect for Musical Romance, who would have four weeks to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.

MIAMI – Saturday’s $55,000 Mike Sherman Memorial Stakes was surely not designed as a Breeders’ Cup prep, but it could end up becoming just that for defending BC Filly and Mare Sprint champ Musical Romance, who is among the 10 females entered to go 6 1/2 furlongs in the overnight dash.

The Mike Sherman shares top billing on Saturday’s 12-race program at Calder with the $75,000 Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap, a 6 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up. The two races do have one common denominator – the speedy filly Spectacular Sky, who was entered in both events by trainer Marty Wolfson.

Trainer Bill Kaplan said he will not make a final decision on Musical Romance’s starting status for the Mike Sherman until Saturday. If she runs, it will mark the second time the Eclipse Award winner has raced at Calder this season. She rallied to a hard-fought, half-length decision over Nicole H to capture the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap on July 7.

Kaplan gave Musical Romance the rest of the summer off following her win in the Princess Rooney, bringing her back just two weeks ago to finish an even third in Belmont Park’s Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap.

“The only reason we’re considering running her in this race is to make her better for the Breeders’ Cup,” said Kaplan. “The purse, the distance, and the competition is of no consideration. But the timing is right – she had a race four weeks before winning the Filly and Mare Sprint last year – and she’s doing really well at the moment.”

Kaplan said his other option, should he decide to scratch Musical Romance on Saturday, is to work her three times prior to the Breeders’ Cup.

“She either runs Saturday and breezes once before the Breeders’ Cup or she breezes three times,” said Kaplan. “I was very happy with her last race coming off the layoff. We didn’t want to press her early, we just let her run through the stretch, and she finished well behind a very fast winner. Everything has to be perfect for her to run on Saturday, it’s definitely going to be a borderline call and a last-minute decision.”

Obviously, Kaplan’s decision will have a major impact on the Mike Sherman and potentially the Kenny Noe as well. Spectacular Sky is one of five fillies and mares Wolfson entered in the Sherman and she’ll be the odds-on favorite if she runs and Musical Romance does not. The red-hot daughter of Sky Mesa is also one of two horses Wolfson entered for the six-furlong Kenny Noe. The other is the 122-pound highweight Indiano, who has not raced or even recorded a public workout since winning the Giant Ryan by 5 1/2 lengths on Aug. 4, and as a result seems likely to scratch.

Spectacular Sky broke poorly and finished last, nearly eight lengths behind Musical Romance, while making her first start for Wolfson in the Princess Rooney. But she’s cruised to easy victories in all three subsequent tries, including a 3 1/4-length decision over males in the Whippleton overnight stakes on Sept. 8.

Wolfson holds a very strong hand in the Sherman even without Spectacular Sky. He has entered five horses in the race and can go to his bench and start Bringingdown Babel, an easy winner of each of her last four outings; recent stakes winner Nakano, who finished a rallying third in the Princess Rooney; Golden Mystery, idle since finishing seventh after setting the pace to midstretch in the Princess Rooney; or the stakes-winning Nasty Rumor.

Spectacular Sky would face only four rivals and also be the heavy favorite if she runs and stablemate Indiano scratches from the Kenny Noe. Her chief competition would include Close It Out and Black Diamond Cat, who dead-heated for second more than three lengths behind her in the Whippleton, along with Duty Blues and Dual Exhauzt.