Harmonious Victory for Shirreffs
Fillies have been lining up in the starting gates of Keeneland Race Course, Lexington, for the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup since its inauguration in 1984. This year, on Saturday 16 October 2010, it was no different. This spectacular Grade 1 thoroughbred horse racing event is used by many trainers as a preparation event for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare event, and trainer John Shirreffs could not have been prouder standing in the winner’s circle on Saturday at Keeneland. Usually, Shirreffs has his full attention on Zenyatta, but there is another filly that is proving her worth on the racecourse.
The progeny of Dynaformer, Harmonious is owned by Emily, Pam and Martin Wygood, and Joel Rosario was entrusted with her for the 2010 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup event. As the gates swung open and the fillies sped out onto the track, all contenders enjoyed a clean break with Dade Babe taking the lead early in the race. Harmonious and Rosario bided their time in second position, with Evening Jewel remaining close to the race leaders. Rosario decided to make his move on the far turn, and took Harmonious wide coming into the stretch. She was able to pass Dade Babe, and Evening Jewel did her best to keep up. Zagora, ridden by Julien Leparoux, came from nowhere and followed Harmonious home in second position. Evening Jewel finished third, followed by Dade Babe, Snow Top Mountain, Check the Label, La Cloche and Perfect Shirl. As Shirreffs spends most his time in California, winning an event at Keeneland was a first for him. It is also Harmonious’ fourth victory off six career starts, and it seems the future is looking very bright for her.
Sherriffs comment to the press after the race: “She’s really a nice filly, and she has a wonderful stride, which you saw. She can utilize that… It’s really more about how she’s comfortable in the race. She hit that nice big stride. At that point, there’s no sense fighting and trying to take her back.” Rosario also praised the filly by saying that “Turning for home, I had a lot of horse. When I asked her, she tried to get in a little bit. I hit her left handed and she tried to get out a little bit. But she was fine. She did the job really easy.”