Romancing The Eclipse

Founded in 1956, Ocala Stud is the oldest active and one of the most successful Thoroughbred farms in the Ocala/Marion County area. In its nearly six decades of existence, racehorses bred, raised and sold by the historic farm have garnered many accolades in the Thoroughbred industry. The farm has produced several equine millionaires and national champions, including My Dear Girl, Roman Brother and Office Queen, and now, Musical Romance can be added to that honor roll.

Bred, raised and sold by Ocala Stud, Magical Romance won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on November 4 at Churchill Downs. With that win, Musical Romance became the first Ocala Stud-bred horse to win a prestigious Breeders’ Cup race. That Breeders’ Cup victory, combined with an outstanding overall racing season, led to Musical Romance being honored with the Eclipse Award as the 2011 North American Champion Female Sprinter. The Eclipse Awards, presented annually to the country’s outstanding racehorses and individuals, are the Academy Awards of the Thoroughbred racing industry. Musical Romance became the 50th Florida-bred to garner an Eclipse Award.

“We are obviously very happy with Musical Romance’s Eclipse Award,” says Michael O’Farrell, president of Ocala Stud and whose father Joe O’Farrell was one of the original founders of the operation. “Musical Romance is third-generation Ocala Stud-bred, and we still own her dam (mother) Candlelight Dinner. It’s quite an honor for Ocala Stud to have bred, raised and sold an Eclipse champion.”

Concorde’s Tune, the sire (father) of Musical Romance, also stood stud at Ocala Stud until his death in early 2011.

Ocala Stud sold Musical Romance as a 2 year old in training for a modest $22,000 at the 2009 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s April juvenile sale. She was purchased by trainer Bill Kaplan on behalf of Miami-based Pinnacle Racing Stable, a partnership founded and managed by Adam Lazarus. Musical Romance, who races for Pinnacle Racing Stable and Kaplan, had to overcome an early training injury before beginning her racing career. Fortunately, she recovered well and blossomed into an outstanding racehorse as a 4-year-old filly in 2011.

In addition to her all-important Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint victory, Musical Romance also won four other stakes races and earned $1,040,734 on the season. To date, Musical Romance has career earnings of $1,217,850 and plans are for her to race in 2012.

“Not only is Musical Romance’s Eclipse Award an honor for Ocala Stud,” says O’Farrell. “But it’s also an honor for the Florida Thoroughbred industry and Ocala. It proves what we say about Ocala being the best place to breed, raise and sell racehorses.”

Posted in Ocala Style Features

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