Harmonious - 1990
Harmonious: Vindication for the Antonacci Clan It was the same situation as in 1989. A horse owned by a Lou Guida-headed group and a horse owned by Frank Antonacci and partners were squaring off in the second jewel in trotting’s Triple Crown. The year before, the same confrontation ended in a dead-heat and a legal tangle. This time, however, there was a clear cut, if slightly unlikely, winner of the 65th Hambletonian.
The pre-race favorite was Royal Troubador, 1989’s Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year who had already captured the Yonkers Trot. Others that merited respect included King Of The Sea, Armbro Iliad, The Devil, Crown Bones and Beacon Course victor Embassy Lobell, who was owned by a Lou Guida-managed group. Embassy Lobell captured his division of the first heat in 1:56.1 with Mike Lachance at the lines. Trapped on the rail for three-quarters of a mile. Embassy Lobell made up ground when he shook loose and trotted by Armbro Iliad in the deep stretch. In the second division, lightly-raced Harmonious, co-owned by Antonacci, didn't figure against veteran Royal Troubador. But someone forgot to tell Harmonious. John Campbell sent the strapping son of Crowning Point after Royal Troubador at the half, and blew on by to win in 1:55. Harmonious almost didn't make it to the Hambletonian, much less the second heat. Only a few days before the big day, trainer Osvaldo Formia had found the colt cut and scraped in his paddock, after hurting himself suffering from colic. The cuts weren't severe, however, and Formia treated Harmonious' colic with the human medicine Maalox. In the final heat, Embassy Lobell drew the rail and Harmonious the two-hole. Campbell elected to drop in behind Lachance and Embassy Lobell, while Royal Troubador and King of the Sea battled on the front end. Lachance made his move on Royal Troubador after that colt posted a :56.2 half, and Campbell sat in third. Royal Troubador held the lead until the three-quarter mark in 1:25, and Campbell took Harmonious around that rival and Embassy Lobell as well. Harmonious coasted under the wire a length and a half in front in 1:54.1, with Embassy Lobell second and Royal Troubador hanging on for third. It was a glorious day in the winner's circle for Lindy Farms' Frank Antonacci, his family, and trainer Formia. After the frustration of the outcome the year before, the victory was all the sweeter. And the hero of the day was the lightly-raced, slightly banged and battered Harmonious - and a dose of Maalox.
Richest Hambletonian purse ever. The Hambletonian was Harmonious' first win in a stake; although he had won four of five starts are a 3-year-old coming up to the Hambletonian. Prepped for the classic primarily in overnight races, breaking his maiden the first week of June at the Pocono Downs in a $1,500 condition event. In his next start, he made a break, finishing ninth in the American-National Stake at Sportsman's Park in Chicago. Returning to the east coast he won a qualifier and then three straight overnight races at the Meadowlands during the month of July, the fastest in 1:57 1/5. It marked the second consecutive Hambletonian winnner trained by Argentiana native Osvaldo Formia, who also was the caretaker for two Hambletonian winners: Speedy Somolli (1978) and Lindy's Pride (1969). Harmonious was voted Trotter of the Year. Harmonious was from the first crop of Crowning Point, one of only six Hambletonian winners produced in their sire's initial foaling crop. The five others: Hoot Mon (Helicopter, 1953); Speedster (Speedy Scot, 1963); Ayres (Timothy T, 1970); Green Speed (Duenna, 1983); Mystic Park (Mack Lobell, 1987); and Valley Victory (Victory Dream, 1995).