01/28/2006 12:00AM

House of Fortune stalks, then rolls to victory

Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
House of Fortune runs to victory in the Sunshine Millions Distaff on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Arnold Zetcher has made his fortune in women's clothing, and on Saturday at Gulfstream Park, his mare House of Fortune was pretty in pink. House of Fortune, wearing Zetcher's bright pink silks, turned back fellow California-bred Dream of Summer on the far turn and then turned on the jets en route to a 6 1/2-length victory in the $500,000 .

The victory was the second on the day in the Sunshine Millions for winning jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who has now been aboard House of Fortune for two straight victories. House of Fortune had lost 10 straight before a win last month at Hollywood Park.

"I'm learning more about the [mare]," Valenzuela said. "I didn't think she was rateable, but she rated good today, and when I asked her she picked it up and put them away."

Sweet Lips rallied to be second, with favored Dream of Summer tiring to finish third, 7 1/4 lengths behind Sweet Lips. House of Fortune was timed in 1:49.33 for 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track.

House of Fortune ($6.80) figured to use her inside draw and keen speed to grab the early lead. But she was outrun for the early lead and initially had to sit on the rail, in fourth, while in a pocket behind the leaders.

As the field advanced down the backstretch, Valenzuela found a seam between Snug Harbor and Dream of Summer and let House of Fortune advance rapidly to the front. Both she and Dream of Summer ran together until the middle of the far turn, at which point House of Fortune put away Dream of Summer and set sail for home.

"Did you see how she ran?" said an overjoyed Zetcher, who owns the successful women's clothing store Talbot's.

The victory was the eighth in 22 lifetime starts for House of Fortune, 5, a mare by Free House. She has been trained throughout her career by Hall of Famer Ron McAnally.

"I was a little surprised at the way the race went," McAnally said. "I thought she'd be on the lead, but a couple others sent. Patrick rode the race like he did Sunday Silence against Easy Goer," he said, referring to the 1989 Preakness Stakes. "He rode a masterful race."