10/06/2003 12:00AM

Harmony Lodge closes season with another victory


ELMONT, N.Y. - Harmony Lodge capped a terrific 5-year-old season Sunday by registering a half-length, gate-to-wire victory in the Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park.

House Party, the 7-10 favorite, rallied for second, a head in front of Slews Final Answer. Jockey Jose Santos said House Party got startled by a piece of paper she saw on the track at the top of the stretch.

For Harmony Lodge, Sunday's win was her fifth in eight starts this year and came on the heels of a nose victory in the Grade 1 Ballerina Handicap at Saratoga. Under Richard Migliore, Harmony Lodge set fractions of 23.68 and 46.82 seconds while racing into a strong headwind down the backside and facing pace pressure from Literary Light and then Slews Final Answer.

Harmony Lodge opened up a 2 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole and held on by a half-length.

Harmony Lodge, a daughter of Hennessy and a half-sister to Graeme Hall, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.20 and returned $6.10 to win as the second choice.

On Monday, Harmony Lodge was sent to owner Eugene Melnyk's Winding Oaks Farm in Ocala, Fla., and will be freshened for a 6-year-old campaign that will begin in at Gulfstream Park.