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High Praise From Blood

Published: April 30, 2018 4:11 pm ET

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He may not possess the name recognition or credentials of stablemates Boston Red Rocks and Doo Wop Hanover, yet Music Is Art has always been held in high regard by his winter conditioner and co-owner, Peter Blood. In fact, he holds a distinction no other horse has attained in the New England and Florida Hall of Fame member’s five decades in the sport.

“I’ve always said he is the fastest horse I’ve ever sat behind,” said Blood. “The problem was he could not carry that speed, but I think we have the stamina in him now to do so.”

Purchased for $85,000 by Blood and his longtime partner Rick Berks at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale, Music Is Art is a four-year-old son of Art Major and the Western Ideal mare Music Row. As a two and three-year-old he showed glimpses of his ability while compiling a record of 26-5-1-4 and banking just over $100,000.

Campaigned by Steve Elliott as a freshman, Music Is Art competed primarily in New York Sire Stakes events, but he was also fourth in a $66,000 division of the Bluegrass Stakes.

As a sophomore, the gelding was in the barns of Blood, Mike Deters and Jake Leamon and Elliott, and returned to New York for the early part of the season where he was third in the $263,100 Empire Breeders Classic final. He was fourth once again in a $73,400 division of the Bluegrass Stakes and completed his season with a seventh-place finish in the $308,060 Progress Pace final.

Despite being eligible for the Breeders Crown, Blood and Berks opted to provide Music Is Art with an extended vacation and prepare him for a four-year-old campaign.

“As I said, I always knew he had the speed,” Blood said. “And it was there in his races but he just was not finishing his miles. That does not seem to be an issue this year as he has won both of his races and has already been in 1:50.3. Tony (Kerwood) has been driving him and told me he feels great.”

Music Is Art commenced his 2018 with a triumph in a non-winners race at Pompano Park on April 10. He followed that performance with another win in the Open ranks at the same facility on April 22 in the aforementioned 1:50.3, which is also a new lifetime mark.

Music Is Art, with Tony Kerwood in his bike, pictured lowering his lifetime mark in April 2018 at Pompano Park (Skip Smith Photo)

“He and Doo Wop will be sent to race out of New York with Mike Deters,” Blood said. “‘Red Rocks’ will go back to Steve (Elliott).”

While naturally Blood hopes Music Is Art joins Doo Wop Hanover and champion Boston Red Rocks with stakes wins, each horse has their own unique course charted for the year.

“The Graduate (which opens this Saturday at the Meadowlands) is really the only thing we have Music Is Art staked for,” Blood said. “We learned from what happened to Red Rocks last year how tough a horse’s four-year-old year can be, so we’ll see what he tells us for the rest of the year.”

After nearly losing Doo Wop Hanover, who captured the 2015 Graduate final and was poised to become a big star in the older pacing ranks, Blood was thrilled to see him return to the winner’s circle on November 27, 2017. It was his first victory since the 2015 Jim Ewart Memorial and the gelding has added two more wins, two seconds and three thirds while racing this winter at Pompano Park.

It has been nothing short of a tremendous turnaround for a horse that seemed doubtful would ever appear in a pari-mutuel event again and whom Blood was unsure if he could merely save his life.

“We are also just going to take our time with ‘Doo Wop’ and see how it goes,” Blood said. “I sent his groom up with him, who he loves, and we will keep his races spaced out. He is such a happy horse right now and I don’t have to use a cradle on him anymore. I think he really enjoyed his time down in Florida without having to be put on a trailer to race all the time. I don’t really know what to expect, he’ll let us know; the goal is to keep him happy.”

As for 2015 Dan Patch Award winner Boston Red Rocks, the five-year-old horse was fourth in his most recent qualifying event behind Filibuster Hanover, Rock N Tony and fellow champion Pure Country at the Meadowlands Racetrack on April 28.

“Red Rocks will follow much the same schedule as he did last year,” Blood said. “Although, we will probably go a little lighter with him because we thought he was tired at the end of the season. He had a lot of hard races and despite not getting a lot of wins with him you cannot take anything away from how well he raced. We have no reason not to anticipate him to race well this year. He always gives you all he has and has four :27 quarters in him; he just keeps coming. So we figured we would race him again this year and then maybe see about standing him (at stud).”


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