09/10/2011 7:18PM

Presque Isle Downs: Musical Romance holds on in Presque Isle Masters

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Musical Romance (foreground) holds off Ariana D to win the Grade 2 Presque Isle Masters.

Musical Romance was all out to just hold on and win the Grade 2, $400,000 Presque Isle Masters on Saturday.

An early speed duel developed between longshots Waccamah and Promised Mandate, with Musical Romance in close pursuit under Juan Levya. Musical Romance rallied between those two horses in the stretch and began to draw clear in the 6 1/2-furlong event.

Levya kept the 4-year-old to task late and was all out to hold off the late-charging duo of Ariana D and Shotgun Gulch, the second- and third-place finishers, respectively, who were gaining with every stride.

Levya praised his mount after the race

“I know this filly well and let her be where she wanted to be,” he said. “I just looked for a seam, and she went through it.”

Trainer Bill Kaplan also was pleased with his filly’s performance.

“She gave it her all once again, Juan did a good job, she has had six perfect trips in her last six races,” Kaplan said.

Any worries about the Tapeta surface were banished early in the week, according to Kaplan.

“We were a little worried about the synthetic, but once she got here, she loved it and the cooler weather also I think,” he said. “We knew she would run well.”

As for her next out, Kaplan is not sure.

“She is not Breeders’ Cup eligible, so we don’t have to worry about that, I am going to look at Keeneland and I think her next start will be there,” he said.

The final margin of victory was a neck over Ariana D, with Shotgun Gulch another half-length back in third. Promised Mandate was only a neck back in fourth, rounding out the superfecta.

Musical Romance returned $19.80 and ran the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.40.