03/05/2004 12:00AM

House Party back to sprinting ways


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - With her two-turn experiment over for now, gets back to what she does best and takes on nine other fillies and mares going 6 1/2 furlongs in Sunday's $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

House Party finished seventh as the 2-1 favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Sunshine Millions Distaff on Jan. 24. The race marked the first time trainer Allen Jerkens tried House Party around two turns, and it was only the second time House Party had run beyond seven furlongs in her 16-race career. She finished fourth, beaten 4 1/4 lengths by Bird Town, in the Grade 1 Acorn at a mile as a 3-year-old.

Sprinting has been House Party's game throughout her career. Last season, she won five stakes at distances ranging from six to seven furlongs, including Belmont's Grade 1 Prioress. House Party was also third in the Grade 1 Test and second to Harmony Lodge in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap.

House Party opened her 2004 campaign at six furlongs in the Grade 3 First Lady Handicap. After a slow start, she again finished second to Harmony Lodge. Harmony Lodge was nominated to but will not run in the Hurricane Bertie.

"She'll stay sprinting for now," Jerkens said. "And I'm happy to see neither Harmony Lodge or Randaroo are running in this race. She's trained well since her last start, and I expect she'll run well on Sunday."

The presence of Chispiski and Mooji Moo should assure a lively pace for House Party to chase down the stretch. Both mares are at their best when allowed to relax on the lead, and one could compromise the other's chances in the Hurricane Bertie.

Chispiski, a Grade 3 winner at 3, is looking to rebound from a pair of subpar performances. Mooji Moo, on the other hand, comes off the richest victory of her career, a wire-to-wire triumph by three-quarters of a length in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint at Santa Anita.

The biggest question mark in the field is Puerto Rican champion D'Wildcat Speed, who will share high weight of 117 pounds with House Party and Chispiski. D'Wildcat Speed has won 14 straight races, all in Puerto Rico, and will be making her U.S. debut Sunday.

Zawzooth, Mille Feville, Greattobeloved, Halory Leigh, Awesome Charm, and Hidden Ransom complete the lineup.