'Drifter Takes Control, Wins Berkeley 'Cap

Daniel O'Neill's I'madrifter went gate to wire Saturday to triumph in the $100,000 Berkeley Handicap (gr. III) at one mile at Golden Gate Park.

Ridden by Roberto Gonzalez, who won both stakes races at Gold Gate last weekend as well, guided the Washington-bred 5-year-old son of Slewdledo home 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Palmiero in 1:35 on a fast track. Skip to the Stone was third, 1 1/4 length farther back.

The top three finishers in the six-horse field ran in the same order at every call of the eight-furlong race. Halo Cat, the 4-5 favorite with Russell Baze riding, finished last after taking back early and never responding. With Halo Cat off the board, the show prices were huge. Western Pride scratched.

Palmiero, with Chance Rollins aboard, prompted the pace hard early but fell 3 1/2 lengths behind in the stretch and could not make up the difference on the winner, who was under a drive by Gonzalez. The fractions were solid: :22 for the opening quarter, :44 3/5 for the half and 1:08 3/5 for six furlongs.

Trained by Steve Specht, I'madrifter won for the second time in four starts this year. He won the Lafayette at Golden Gate on Jan. 1 in similar gate-to-wire fashion. Eleventh in last year's Berkeley, he collected his seventh win overall in 22 starts while picking up a winner's share of $55,000. That pushed his career bankroll to $275,275.

The Paulson Brothers Ranch and Roy Dane bred I'madrifter.

The 10-1 fifth choice, he paid $22, $10.40 and $28.20. Palmiero returned $7.60 and $23.80. Skip to the Stone, the longest shot on the board at 10-1 with Frank Alvarado riding, paid $26.40 to show.

(Chart, Equibase)