Joseph V. Shields Jr.'s hard-hitting House Party rallied in the stretch to defeat Mooji Moo by a neck in the $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Handicap at Gulfstream Park Sunday.
House Party, a 4-year-old homebred daughter of French Deputy, made up three lengths in the stretch to get up in the final strides, covering the 6 1/2-furlong distance in a rapid 1:15 2/5, two ticks off the track record. She snapped a three-race losing streak.
Jose Santos rode the winner, who toted co-high weight of 117 pounds for trainer Allen Jerkens.
Zawzooth came on to finish third, 3 1/2 lengths behind Mooji Moo and a head in front of pacesetter Chispiski. D'Wildcat Speed, winner of 14 straight races in Puerto Rico, was fifth as the 9-2 third choice in the field of 10.
House Party broke in mid-pack for Santos, made progress along the inside on the turn and angled out for the stretch run. Mooji Moo, ridden by Manuel Aguilar, tracked Chispiski through fast fractions (:21 4/5, :44 1/5), overtaking the leader at the head of the stretch and battling the winner gamely.
Halory Leigh, the 4-1 second choice, was never involved, finishing ninth.
House Party was seventh in her last start when tried at a 1 1/16-mile distance in the Sunshine Millions Distaff. Returned to a more comfortable sprint, she won for the first time since taking the Endine Handicap (gr. III) at Delaware Park on Sept. 6. She captured the Prioress (gr. I) by 3 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park July 4.
She earned $60,000 Sunday for her seventh win in 17 starts. She has career earnings of $694,564.
The 6-5 choice paid $4.40, $3 and $2.60. Mooji Moo returned $7.40 and $6.20. Zawzooth, who overcame a bad start, showed for $5. The $2 exacta was worth $29.40.