02/14/2003 12:00AM

Harmony Lodge wins again

Email

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Harmony Lodge is finally realizing the potential trainer Todd Pletcher saw in her before she ever ran.

Thirty-three days after coming from off the pace to win the Grade 3 First Lady Handicap, Harmony Lodge posted a front-running victory in Friday's Grade 3, $100,000 Shirley Jones Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

After dueling with Forest Heiress through a half-mile in 44.68 seconds, Harmony Lodge put her away turning for home, and cruised to a three-length victory. Gold Mover, the 1-2 favorite, outfinished Nonsuch Bay by a half-length for second. Forest Heiress, Preferred Option, and Away completed the order of finish.

Harmony Lodge covered seven furlongs in 1:22.35 and returned $11.40 to win.

Harmony Lodge, a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Graeme Hall, has now won six of 12 starts for owner Eugene Melnyk, who paid $1.65 million for her at auction.

"I've always been super high on this filly since I saw her work as a 2-year-old before she came to the sales," Pletcher said. "At the time we had Graeme Hall, and I called Eugene and said this is a super filly. He stepped up big time to buy her, and subsequently Graeme Hall went on to win the Arkansas Derby and Jim Dandy. She always trained like a really good horse; it's always been little physical issues along the way."

Mark Hennig, trainer of Gold Mover, said his mare was compromised by being pinned down along the rail down down the backstretch by jockey Jose Santos aboard Preferred Option.

"She needed to get started," Hennig said. "She'll be ready for the next one."

Harmony Lodge and Gold Mover could meet again in the $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes on March 16.