03/08/2004 12:00AM

House Party wears down Mooji Moo

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EQUI-PHOTO
House Party (5), with Jose Santos aboard, edges by Mooji Moo, and Manuel Aguilar, to win the $100,000 Hurricane Bertie Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - House Party turned back to 6 1/2 furlongs for Sunday's $100,000 and needed every inch of that distance before finally wearing down a game Mooji Moo to post a hard fought neck victory.

House Party finished a well beaten seventh making her two turn debut six weeks earlier in the one mile and one sixteenth Sunshine Millions Distaff. Allowed to save ground and settle in mid-pack in the run down the backstretch, House Party eased out to commence her rally approaching the quarter pole then finished determinedly to catch Mooji Moo in the final strides.

Mooji Moo, fresh off a victory in the Sunshine Millions Distaff Sprint, chased the speedy Chispiski during the opening half mile of the Hurricane Bertie. She moved willingly to the lead approaching the quarter pole, edged clear once changing lead and settling into the stretch then just failed to last. Zawzooth finished well to be third after a slow start.

House Party, who shared highweight of 117 pounds with Chispiski and D'Wildcat Speed, paid $4.40 as the favorite in the field of 10 fillies and mares. Her final time of 1:15.55 seconds was just two-fifths off the track record.

"The other filly(Mooji Moo) ran a great race," said Allen Jerkens who trains House Party for owner-breeder Joseph V. Shields Jr. "It looked like she was getting to her but didn't have the time. Near the end she just threw her head down and got there."

The victory was House Party's first since she captured Delaware Park's Grade 3 Endine Handicap on Sept. 6 and the sixth stakes win of her career.

Jerkens said House Party will not likely run again until she returns to New York this spring.