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Musical Rhythm Sidelined With Injury

Published: July 31, 2019 10:05 pm ET

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Losing a productive horse like Musical Rhythm would be a severe blow for many horsemen.

Fortunately for Ben Baillargeon, his 38-horse stable has a lot of power on the trotting side.

Since Musical Rhythm was sidelined by injury three weeks ago, Run Director, Canada's champion three-year-old trotter of 2018, has captured the preferred class at Woodbine Mohawk Park in consecutive weeks, pushing his career earnings past $500,000. Hard-knocking mares Royal Witch and PL Jill also are in Baillargeon's barn, and even former two-year-old star Alarm Detector is showing encouraging signs again, after a difficult couple of years.

"I have many good trotters," said Baillargeon, whose stable already has racked up more than $1.1 million in purses this season. "They all do their share."

Still, Musical Rhythm leaves big shoes to fill.

The seven-year-old son of Cantab Hall was a seven-time winner and missed a cheque only once in 17 starts this season. A powerhouse in the preferred ranks at Mohawk, where he equaled the track and Canadian record for older male trotters with a 1:50.4 mile in June, he also had raced at Northfield Park in the $175,000 Cleveland Classic and finished second to Guardian Angel AS. His earnings in 2019 exceeded $206,000 and he was approaching $900,000 for his career, most of it for Baillargeon and the ownership group that paid $33,000 (U.S.) for the horse at a sale in Harrisburg at the end of his three-year-old campaign.

"He was at the top of his game," Baillargeon said.

But the season came to an untimely end on July 9, after a runner-up finish to Dancer Hall in the Mohawk preferred.

"He fractured a cannon bone - right hind," said Baillargeon. "We took him straight to the clinic (in Guelph). At 1:30 (in the morning), seven screws were in. At 10:00 (a.m.), he was back home."

That's where he'll remain, in recuperation mode.

Baillargeon is in no hurry to bring him back. The horse had an abbreviated 2018 campaign as he recovered from an infection that almost killed him. "We were just happy to have him back, we didn't know how he'd do so we didn't stake him to anything, but he actually came back better than he was. That`s the type of horse he is. He'll come back again, there's no doubt in my mind. But if it can't be at the high level he was, I won't race him. We see him as a stallion, and already bred a few mares to him this year."

(A Trot Insider Exclusive by Paul Delean)

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