Musical Rhythm keeps the beat
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A playful 7-year-old stallion (“You give him a ball, he plays soccer with it; you put him in the field, he throws it and goes and gets it,” Baillargeon says), Musical Rhythm’s big personality is outsized only by his big heart. The horse nearly died last year as the result of complications from an infection, but after several months and multiple medical procedures at the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, he recovered and was able to return to Baillargeon.
Baillargeon, who is among the stallion’s owners, was grateful to simply have Musical Rhythm home. He thought the horse might perform stud duty, but his racing days were in the past. Then one day, Baillargeon told his daughter Sara to put the harness on Musical Rhythm so he could walk him around the track.
“As soon as we hit the track, he said: I’m home; this is where I live, on the track,” Baillargeon said. “He’s been on the track since. He’s just a gritty horse. He loves to race.
“We were just happy to get him back. It was a blessing. But he doesn’t want to give up. It’s unbelievable.”
On Saturday, Musical Rhythm will bring a six-race win streak to the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic at Ohio’s Northfield Park. For his career, the son of Cantab Hall-Musical Victory has won 36 of 89 races and $694,107. His victories include the 2016 Graduate Series championship, which he won from post 10 at The Meadowlands.
Guardian Angel As, who brings his own three-race win streak to Northfield, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Cleveland Trotting Classic, with Jason Bartlett driving for Anette Lorentzon. Musical Rhythm is 10-1 with Northfield Park regular Ronnie Wrenn Jr. in the sulky.
“He’s got everything you need in a horse,” Baillargeon said about Musical Rhythm. “He’s such a smart horse and he can do it any which way. He’s got lots of gate speed and he’s got guts. He’s got lots of grit. Everyone that’s come at him lately, he puts them away.
“Ronnie knows the track there real good. He’ll figure out what he wants to do. The horse will do what he wants to do, that’s for sure. The horse will give a tremendous effort. He always does. Whatever happens, happens.”
Baillargeon bought Musical Rhythm as a 3-year-old for $33,000 at the Standardbred Mixed Sale. He owns the horse with Santo Vena, Nunzio Vena, and Claude Hamel. The group bred Musical Rhythm to a handful of mares this year, and three are in foal. Baillargeon expects Musical Rhythm to get more opportunities in the future, but for now is enjoying watching the stallion compete again.
“He’s on quite the roll right now,” Baillargeon said about the horse who is known around the stable by the nickname Marty. “Everybody loves him. He’s got a fan club and he’s done a lot for us, my family and my partners. Marty is there for us. We can always count on him. We are lucky to have him.”
Racing begins at 6 p.m. (EDT) at Northfield Park. Following is the field for the $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic Invitational, which is race 12 on the card.--By Ken Weingartner/USTA