Courtesy of Becky Johnston
With the mid-week lull upon us and
all the disqualification controversy following Proud Spell's demotion from
second in the Grade 1 Mother Goose Stakes on Saturday, I can't help but think
about the overshadowed winner. She seems
to have gotten lost with the rough riding that took place behind her, but Music
Note, by A.P. Indy, looks like she could be special. She is a winner of her last three starts and
three of four overall.
The three-year-old bay filly with
the crooked blaze is out of the Sadler's Wells mare, Note Musicale, making her
a half sister to one of my favorite, hard-luck mares, French Classic and
American Grade 1 winner Musical Chimes, by In Excess (Ire). When things went her way, she was brilliant. When she got too anxious her races were like
rollercoaster rides. She was never
The tongue-wagging filly had a
habit of running with her head high in the air and she didn't mind getting
aggressive when challenged or finding herself in tight spots early, which was
often followed by poor finishes. But
when she had her eye on the prize, she was fun to watch.
An American in Paris
The Kentucky bred started her
two-year-old season in France with Andre Fabre for Gainsborough Farms. She ran three times as a two-year-old, with
her only win negated by disqualification (which would be no surprise to those
that followed her subsequent career).
After the disqualification in her second start, she had a sixth place
effort in the Grade 3 Prix Miesque Stakes at Maisons-Laffitte racecourse north
of Paris. Then the filly was
put away for the season.
Musical Chimes started her
three-year-old campaign in March of 2003 at Saint Cloud Racecourse with a
fourth place finish. The next month she
officially broke her maiden in her fifth start at Longchamp in the Prix Fould
at one mile over a yielding course.
She repeated that effort on May
11, going off at 12-1 in the Grade 1 Classic 1000 Guineas at Longchamp over a mile on good turf. She defeated Maiden Tower and the very talented 9-4 favorite Etoile Montante in a
roughly contested race. All three of
these fillies would make their way to Southern California.
The Golden State
Muscial Chimes ran two more times
in France (Chantilly and Deauville) with one placing in a Group 1 race before
being shipped to Santa Anita to run in the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon at a mile and
a quarter. Prepping for the Breeder's
Cup, she was partnered with Gary Stevens for the first time, she finished
second, less than a length behind Juddmonte Farms' standout Tates Creek.
A month later she would make her
first start for trainer Neil Drysdale.
She went off as one of the top three selections in the Breeder's Cup
Filly and Mare Turf, where she would finish a troubled 11th of 12
behind champion Islington on a hot day at Santa Anita. The filly fought with jockey Gary Stevens
early and then made a sharp drop on the far turn to finish a disappointing 22
lengths behind the winner, the worst showing of her career.
At the end of November, she
bounced back in the Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood
Park shortening up to her best distance, one mile. With Edgar Prado in the saddle, the filly
would settle much better and make her charge to fall a neck short to another
Juddmonte Farms' standout, Heat Haze.
That would finish her
Better with age
She re-emerged May 30 of the next
year under new jockey Kent Desormeaux as the favorite in the opening race on a
Saturday afternoon at Hollywood Park. The race was a
conditioned allowance going a mile against the boys. She went off as the favorite and finished a
fast closing runner-up to Stage Player.
Her next race was in mid-June,
where she again faced the males in the Grade 1 mile and a quarter, Charlie
Whittingham Stakes, won by Sabiango.
Again, she found trouble in tight quarters during this race and she
finished a non-threatening seventh by four lengths.
July found Musical Chimes back in
with the distaff division and she won the Grade 1 John Mabee Stakes at Del Mar, going a mile and an eight with her now regular rider Kent
Desormeaux. She won the race by a little
better than a length, but the rider had been so confident down the lane that he
didn't urge her to run until the last few jumps and then only hands and
heels. Moscow Burning was second in this
race, but our heroine finally got the measure of a talented Juddmonte Farms'
filly in Light Jig.
The next race for the
four-year-old filly was the prestigious sister-race to the Arlington Million,
the Grade 1 Beverly D. in August. The
race, run at a mile and three-sixteeths, would see her go off the
favorite. She ran fourth, less than a
length back after dueling wide. The
winner was Godolphin's Crimson Palace and Foxridge Farm's Riskaverse running second.
This would be a painful weekend as
the Drysdale trained and Gainsborough owned colt Storming Home, a sure winner
in the Arlington Million, bolted near the wire only to see himself disqualified
to fourth place and sending rider Gary Stevens to the hospital.
Storming Home (GB) was a
three-time Grade 1 winner out of a half-sister to Note Musicale, Try to Catch
Me, by Shareef Dancer.
With a six-week rest under her
Drysdale's filly she re-appeared at her favorite distance in the Oak Tree
Breeders' Cup Mile against the boys, where she would gain her last
victory. She defeated Trudy McCaffery
& John Toffan's Buckland Manor and eventual Breeders Cup Mile winner
Singletary in style. Musical Chimes
rated well off the lead, rallied wide off the turn and looked both of her male
counterparts, on either side of her, in the eye and defiantly stuck her nose in
front right at the wire to become the first filly to win the race.
Her next start would come in the
Breeders' Cup Mile at Lone Star Park, where she would once again find herself repeatedly
steadied. She finished sixth by three to
Singletary, a horse she had just defeated in her last start.
Musical Chimes ran again in the
Matriach in November. Unfortunately, she
never menaced the winner, another Juddmonte Farms' filly, Intercontinental and
the runner-up Etoile Montante, her old rival from France.
She was rested until
February. She came back as a
five-year-old with a new jockey in Edgar Prado and a new surface, dirt. She ran pretty average in the mile and a
sixteenth Santa Maria at Santa Anita with a fifth place finish of eight
In her last start the mare
returned to the turf and gave the males one last look at her in the Frank
Kilroe Handicap run at a mile at Santa Anita Park. Musical Chimes was running beautifully, then
found herself boxed at mid-stretch, checked off heels only to re-rally to
be an unlucky fifth by just two lengths.
The eventual Eclipse champion turf horse for 2005, Leroidesanimaux, won
and Buckland Manner ran second.
She was retired three days
While her in-the-money record
really doesn't speak to her talent, 20 starts with only four wins and four
other placings, she did compile earnings of $965,489. With a little luck she could have
accomplished so much more.
Lasting memories or a fleeting thought?
Now we have her half-sister, Music
Note, on the cusp of her fourth win in just, what we hope, will be her fifth
start. The question is, will we get to
enjoy her more than just a handful of performances or will she be rushed off to
the breeding shed?