Two-time Grade I stakes winner Harmonious will be sent out with the
intention of reversing the result from their last meeting when she
engages Celtic Princess and six others in Sunday’s Grade II, $250,000
John C. Mabee Stakes.
In the last race for both, Celtic Princess prevailed by 2 ¼ lengths
over Harmonious in the Grade II Royal Heroine on July 4 at Hollywood
Park. It was the second start after a five-month layoff for Celtic
Princess, the first race after a nearly five-month break for Harmonious.
And while John Shirreffs, who trains Harmonious for Marty, Pam and
Emily Wygod of Rancho Santa Fe, doesn’t consider it a two-horse race –
the field includes defending champion Wasted Tears – he can make a good
case for Harmonious.
“Harmonious hadn’t run in a long time and I think she really needed
that last race,” Shirreffs said. “She’d had a hard campaign, running in
the Breeders’ Cup and a couple of races at Santa Anita so it was time to
give her a little break.
“Hopefully this race will be just perfect for her. We need to get her going again. We’ve got year-end aspirations for her.”
Harmonious, a 4-year-old daughter of Dynaformer and the Storm Cat
mare Jade Tree, is a Kentucky-born homebred of the Wygods who has four
wins and four other in-the-money finishes in 10 career starts for
earnings of $580,420. Her Grade I wins came last year in the American
Oaks at Hollywood Park in July and the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in October
at Keeneland. Harmonious has two runner-up finishes and a third in
three 2011 starts.
The No. 1 post position drawn for the Mabee is not a concern for
Shirreffs and he’s going to leave the race strategy to jockey Joel
Rosario, who’ll be aboard for the sixth straight time.
“She’s very versatile, she can be anywhere depending on the pace of
the race,” Shirreffs said. “Everything changes once the gate opens and I
wouldn’t want to handcuff (Rosario) with specific instructions. You
hire great riders and you let them do their job.”