House Party Has Something to Celebrate

Joseph V. Shields Jr.'s homebred House Party angled out in the stretch and circled her four rivals at the sixteenth pole, drawing off to a 1 1/2-length victory over favored Chimichurri in the $100,000 Old Hat Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Gulfstream Park Sunday.

Ridden by Jose Santos, who replaced injured Jorge Chavez, House Party covered the six furlongs in 1:10.81. Chavez sustained an ankle injury in a riding mishap Thursday.

The Florida-bred daughter of French Deputy was unhurried early as Follow Me Home and Eternal Cup dueled for the early lead in fast early fractions of :21.47 and :44.64 for a half-mile. As the field hit the turn, House Party moved into contention as Chimichurri and Glorious Miss went to put pressure on the leaders. As the leaders vied four across the track, House Party swung around the field and took command for the rest of the way. Chimichurri, with John Velazquez riding, finished two lengths in front of Glorious Miss and Pat Day.

House Party, who has never finished out of the money in six career starts for trainer Allen Jerkens, snapped a two-race losing streak while collecting her second victory. She was second to Randaroo in the Valley Stream (gr. III) at Aqueduct Nov. 24. Sunday's $60,000 winner's share pushed her career total to $131,064.

Sent off as the 9-5 second choice, House Party paid $5.60, $2.80 and $2.10. Chimichurri returned $2.60 and $2.10. Glorious Miss paid $21.0. Follow Me Home was fourth.

(Chart, Equibase)