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Harmonious Wins American Oaks

Hollywood Park logo.
Photo: Hollywood Park

Unraced when the meet began, Harmonious is now a Grade 1 winner a bit more than two months later after a 1 ¼ length victory in the $250,000 American Oaks Saturday at Hollywood Park.

In her initial appearance in a graded affair, the 3-year-old Dynaformer filly out of the Storm Cat mare Jade Tree won her third in a row on turf, rallying in the center of the course under Martin Garcia to get the best of  12-1 shot Antares World approaching the finish.

Owned by breeders Pam and Marty Wygod and trained by John Shirreffs, Harmonious completed the 1 ¼ miles in 2:01.77. In the process, the 5-2 third choice provided her 25-year-old rider with his first Grade 1 success at Hollywood Park.

Fifth going 6 ½ furlongs on Cushion Track in her debut on April 25, Harmonious stretched out to a mile on grass and defeated maidens on May 16. Her other win prior to the American Oaks came in a first level allowance at nine furlongs on June 12.

Favored in her two earlier wins, Harmonious paid $7, $4.60 and $4. Antares World, who was part of some quick early fractions for the distance while closest to pacesetter Riviera Chic, returned $10.60 and $7.80. Weekend Magic, the longest shot in the field at 59-1, was third, 1 ¼ lengths behind Antares World and a nose in front of 2-1 second choice Andina. The show price on Weekend Magic was $16.80.

“We had a lot of high hopes for her,’’ said Shirreffs, who has two stakes wins this season in Inglewood, both in Grade 1’s. He won the Vanity with the undefeated Zenyatta on June 13.

“She showed us a lot. When she won the allowance race going a mile and an eighth we knew she wanted more distance and thought she could handle more distance. That was exactly what we wanted, not to move early. Especially at a mile and a quarter with a 3-year-old filly that hasn’t done it.’’

Garcia had never ridden Harmonious before Saturday. Mike Smith had been her jockey in the first four races, but he was scheduled to be aboard Cozi Rosie in the American Oaks. 

However, the Pleasantly Perfect filly, who almost certainly would have been favored, was scratched Friday by trainer John Sadler.

“John told me to let her break and then make her really comfortable,’’ said Garcia. “He thought that if she relaxed she could win. So what I did was just break and let her relax. At the three-eighths a horse outside me passed me, but I didn’t want to move with her, so what I did was take a hold and just follow her.

“When she got in front she started looking around for company. She is a really a nice filly. She was waiting for more. She wanted to keep going and going and going.’’

City To City, the 2-1 favorite, finished fifth, then came Conniption and Riviera Chic.




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