House of Fortune Finds Key in Millions Distaff
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 1/28/2006 8:52:53 PM
Last Updated: 1/29/2006 10:43:18 PM

House of Fortune and jockey Patrick Valenzuela win the Ocala Breeders' Sales Distaff on Sunshine Millions Day.
Photo: Equi-Photo
Arnold Zetcher's 5-year-old California-bred mare House of Fortune drew off on the far turn of Saturday's $500,000 Sunshine Millions Ocala Breeders' Sales Distaff at Gulfstream Park and steered clear for a commanding 6 ½-length victory.

Trained by Ron McAnally, House of Fortune went off the second choice in the 1 1/8-mile event that drew a field of eight fillies and mares.

Breaking from the rail, jockey Patrick Valenzuela allowed her to settle in fourth along the inside just behind the leaders in the first turn and into the backstretch. After she took the lead leaving the backstretch with a move between horses, 13-10 favorite Dream of Summer and John Velazquez came up to challenge in the middle of the far turn. But House of Fortune easily put her away and never looked back while kept busy through the lane by Valenzuela, winning in a solid time of 1:49 1/5.

"She didn't break the best today and I had to take her back, but she relaxed," Valenzuela said. "On the (far) turn, I saw an opening and I took it. She went right in there and took off right away."

A daughter of Free House, the grade II winning House of Fortune was making her first start since taking the restricted Cats Cradle Handicap at Hollywood Park Dec. 4. Saturday's Sunshine Millions victory, her eighth lifetime win in 22 starts, was worth $275,000 and pushed her career earnings to $989,185.

House of Fortune had lost 10 straight races prior to winning the Cats Cradle.

"She's had little problems here and there in her races," McAnally explained. "She has no withers, so her saddle has slipped sometimes. In another start, the (assistant) starter grabbed her right ear. So, it's been little things here and there. But today we tried to get it all together, and she did."

She paid $6.80, $3.60, and $2.60.

Gary and Mary West's third choice, Sweet Lips ($3.40, $2.40) - winner of this race at Santa Anita last year - rallied to finish second under Edgar Prado, 7 ¼ lengths ahead of Dream of Summer ($2.20).

Then came Pitanga, Special Report, American Miss, and Formal Lady. Snug Harbor, who set early fractions of :23 2/5 and :46 3/5, stopped on the far turn and was pulled up.

Secret Corsage scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)

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