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Breeders' Cup 2017

Musical Romance attracts solid field

Champion female sprinter Musical Romance would be proud of the field the inaugural running of Gulfstream’s Musical Romance Stakes drew.  Though there are more lucrative opportunities to be found elsewhere in the country this weekend, Saturday's $100,000 stake for fillies and mares three-years old and upward going 6 ½-furlongs drew a competitive field of eight and boasts five stakes winners.
1. Wildcat Lily—The lone 3-year old in the field, this daughter of D’wildcat enters this race off of two tough defeats in Grade 1 stakes to Sweet Lulu and Lighthouse Bay. She steps down in class here and will be looking for some revenge. She does her best running on the front end, and though she may have some company on the lead, she has proved tough as nails. She has been billed the 5-2 morning line second choice, but I believe she’s the one to beat.
2. Starship Truffles—The convincing winner of the G1 Princess Rooney is also stepping down in class after a loss in the G1 Ballerina last out. She was off slow and jostled in the early going giving her some excuse for that performance, but I am not completely sold on her. The Princess Rooney field was not stellar, in my opinion, and Judy the Beauty, the second place finisher, has a penchant for not quite getting the job done in graded stakes company. However, this is not a graded stakes race, and she likes both the distance and the track. She should go early with Wildcat Lily, and if those two hook up and show their class, an epic stretch battle awaits. Fun fact: If she wins here, Starship Truffles will have won two Musical Romance Stakes this year. Back in April she won the Musical Romance at Calder, which was also contested at 6 ½-furlongs.
3. Isabelle’s Thunder—The five-year old daughter of Mineshaft is one of three that exits the Paseana Stakes contested at Gulfstream last month. She was second that day, her best career finish in a stakes race. She just did manage to grab second as the longest shot on the board, but she finished well behind the winner. She generally sits a few lengths off the pacesetters and probably will not be a threat to the top two.
4. Bringingdown Babel—This mare knows how to win, albeit all of her success has been in the lower levels. Last year she strung together five consecutive wins, but after her win on Breeders’ Cup weekend at Calder back in November, she did not return to the starting gate until just last month. The Musical Romance will be her third start off the layoff, and she will be involved in the pace if she runs her usual race. Should the track come up muddy/sloppy, she will definitely be one to keep an eye on.
5. Appealing Stella—Though a stakes winner in her own right, Appealing Stella has not fared particularly well in the four starts since that win. She hasn’t run poorly, but she has been beaten by weaker than she will face in this spot. Unless it rains and the track comes up messy, I do not foresee her being much of a factor.
6. My Pal Chrisy—She is one of four that trainer Marty Wolfson sends out to take on Wildcat Lily, and though Starship Truffles is the lone Grade 1 winner of that quartet, My Pal Chrisy is no slouch. She is as solid and tough a mare as they come, and she will be waiting to pounce should Bringingdown Babel, Wildcat Lily, and Starship Truffles start to back pedal as they near the wire. Though I am not sure she will be able to win unless the pace completely collapses, she is definitely one to use in exotic wagering.
7. Defy Gravity—I cannot think of another time when I have seen a horse win back-to-back races by virtue of disqualification, but that is exactly what Defy Gravity has done. Though she did not cross the wire first either time, the Bandini filly will leave the starting gate on a two race “win” streak. She has raced almost exclusively in the Mid-Atlantic area, and though she likes the 6 ½-furlong distance, I do not foresee her being a factor.
8. Sure Route—A recent addition to the Wolfson barn, Sure Route began her career on the turf overseas before switching to the dirt here in the U.S. She has had some good showings on dirt but was most recently 8th in the G1 Ballerina. Like Appealing Stella and Bringingdown Babel, I believe she will be more of a threat if the track comes up messy.
The pace scenario will be interesting since the three speedsters drew nearly consecutive posts to the inside. Wildcat Lily and Starship Truffles are clearly the class of the field, but should they along with Bringingdown Babel burn out in a speed duel, I look for My Pal Chrisy to play a major factor. Even if the pace proves to be brisk early on, Wildcat Lily has proved to be tough in the stretch and does not give in willingly. She has the advantage of having the shortest distance to travel and has quietly developed into quite a nice sprinter. With the step down in class and her current form, I think she can get the job done here.
The picks: 1-2-6-4


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Older Comments about Musical Romance attracts solid field...

I expect to see both of the top two at the Breeders' Cup ... This one should be fun!

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