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Retired Trainer Bill Kaplan Dies

By Mike Welsch, DRF

The local racing community is mourning the loss of one of its most successful and popular horsemen, Bill Kaplan, who passed away this past weekend at the age of 77.

Kaplan, who retired in 2016 following a career that spanned three decades, all spent in South Florida, was best known for having purchased and campaigned Musical Romance, who shocked the racing world by upsetting the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint after having been supplemented into the race at a cost of $130,000 by Kaplan and his partner, Pinnacle Racing Stable. The victory ultimately led to Musical Romance being named champion filly and mare sprinter at the end of the year.

“Bill was not only a great horseman, but a great person,” said Adam Lazarus, the managing partner for Pinnacle who along with Kaplan purchased Musical Romance for a bargain $22,000 out of the 2009 Ocala Breeders Sale. “He took the time out of his busy schedule at the barn to help introduce me to and teach me the business, and was the one who had enough confidence in Musical Romance to convince us all it was the right thing to do to supplement her to the Breeders’ Cup – a decision and a race that ultimately changed a lot of people’s lives, including Bill’s.”

Lazarus was also quick to point out Kaplan was not just a one-hit wonder.

“People forget he had many other graded stakes horses, like Ekati’s Phantom, East Hall, and Mr. Livingston to name a few,” said Lazarus. “Or that at one point in 2007 his little 15 horse stable had three horses on the Kentucky Derby trail. Drums of Thunder, Storm in May, and Imawildandcrazyguy, who finished fourth in the Derby that year.

“He was a very talented and fun guy to be around and he’s surely going to be missed by everyone who knew him.”

Coglianese/Gulfstream Park Photo