House Party Slight Favorite in Hurricane Bertie

(from Gulfstream report)
House Party figures to be a slight favorite in Sunday's $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Handicap at Gulfstream Park, but most eyes will be on D'Wildcat Speed, making her U.S. debut after winning 14 in a row in Puerto Rico.

Ten fillies and mares compete in the 6 1/2-furlong Hurricane Bertie, which has all the ingredients needed to make it one of the top handicapping puzzles of the year.

The three top-weighted horses in the field – all at 117 pounds – couldn't be more different.

House Party, a grade I winner who comes from off the pace, is back sprinting after throwing in a clinker in her two-turn debut last out.

Chispiski is all speed and loves the distance, with a record of 7-0-1 in nine starts at Sunday's distance.

And Puerto Rico-based D'Wildcat Speed is all about winning. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Forest Wildcat ran off a 14-race winning streak the last two seasons, and makes her U.S. debut for trainer Bill White.

Also entered are Mooji Moo, who shipped to California last out to win the Sunshine Million Filly-Mare Sprint, and Hidden Ransom, who breezed to victory in her last Gulfstream outing.

House Party tried a mile and a sixteenth in the Sunshine Millions Distaff last time on Jan. 24, but never got close to the lead and finished seventh. The Allen Jerkens-trained filly won the Prioress Stakes (gr. I) at six furlongs last year, and in her 4-year-old debut at Gulfstream was second to Harmony Lodge in the First Lady Handicap. Jose Santos, who has been her regular rider, has the mount on House Party, likely to be a lukewarm favorite.

Chispiski, trained by Ron Spatz, hasn't started since running sixth in the Minaret Stakes at Tampa on Jan. 3. However, the mare by Appealing Skier should run well after the two-month freshening and gets her best distance with regular rider Julio Garcia aboard.

D'Wildcat Speed will get a test here. The 4-year-old has won her last five at distances beyond a mile, and comes back to a sprint for the first time since July 2. Eibar Coa has the mount.

Tim Hills trains Mooji Moo, who has used her speed to good advantage in winning nine of 25 starts going short. The 5-year-old Jeblar mare won five races last year, and this season finished second in the Minaret at Tampa before shipping to Santa Anita to win the Sunshine Million race at six furlongs. Manuel Aguilar, who has been her regular rider in Florida this year, is named again.

Hidden Ransom, trained by Mark Hennig, raced seven furlongs for the first time Jan. 31 in an allowance event for non-winners of three races other than maiden or claiming. She circled the field on the turn and drew out to win by nearly seven lengths. Joe Bravo rides at 113.

$100,000 Hurricane Bertie Handicap, fillies & mares 3 & up, 6 1/2 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Mooji Moo (FL), 115, Manuel Aguilar
2. Zawzooth (KY), 113, Jorge F. Chavez
3. Mille Feville (KY), 114, Robert C. Landry
4. Chispiski (FL), 117, Julio A. Garcia
5. House Party (FL), 117, Jose A. Santos
6. Greattobeloved (ON), 113, Rene R. Douglas
7. Halory Leigh (KY), 114, Craig Perret
8. Awesome Charm (KY), 112, Mark Guidry
9. Hidden Ransom (VA), 113, Joe Bravo
10. D' Wildcat Speed (KY), 117, Eibar Coa

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