05/07/2004 12:00AM

Harmony Lodge cuts back


ELMONT, N.Y. - The primary reason Eugene and Laura Melnyk are involved in owning Thoroughbreds is because they love the racing end of the business. So when one of their runners, Harmony Lodge, won last year's Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga, they didn't rush her off to the breeding shed.

Since the Ballerina, has continued to prove she is a valuable racehorse, with victories in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park last October and the Grade 3 First Lady at Gulfstream Park in January.

On Sunday at Belmont, Harmony Lodge will run in the $150,000 Genuine Risk Handicap, a race in which she finished third last year behind two top fillies, Shine Again and Carson Hollow. Harmony Lodge, the 120-pound highweight, meets four others in the six-furlong Genuine Risk.

After winning the First Lady by 1 3/4 lengths over House Party, Harmony Lodge ran back in the Grade 3 Shirley Jones at Gulfstream and finished a well-beaten second to Randaroo, who ran an exceptional race. In her last start, Harmony Lodge was second to the top mare Ema Bovary in the Madison Stakes at Keeneland on April 7. Both the Shirley Jones and Madison were run at seven furlongs.

Todd Pletcher, Harmony Lodge's trainer, said he feels the drop back to six furlongs "is in her favor." Richard Migliore has the mount from post 3 in the Grade 2 Genuine Risk.

With speed horses Harmony Lodge and , who was scratched from last Saturday's Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs because of a quarter crack.

Bear Fan - trained, co-owned, and bred by Wesley Ward - is consistent, as well as versatile. In her last start, her turf debut, Bear Fan won a 6 1/2-furlong stakes at Santa Anita. In February, she won the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel Park. She has also won at Hollywood Park, Del Mar, and Bay Meadows.

"She popped a quarter behind the week of the Humana, and I was advised not to take a shot running her," Ward said. "It's patched now and she's 100 percent, or I wouldn't be running."

John Velazquez rides Bear Fan from the rail.

Mooji Moo won the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint in January at Santa Anita, defeating Bear Fan. Unlike Harmony Lodge and Bear Fan, Mooji Moo has never earned a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure.