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Harmonious Ready for Best in Mabee

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.”

 

 

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