Updated on 09/17/2011 11:11AM

I'madrifter captures Berkeley Handicap

Vassar Photo
I'madrifter ($22) is alone at the wire after going gate-to-wire in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields.

ALBANY, Calif. - I'madrifter ($22) set rapid fractions then opened up in the lane to win the $100,000 Grade 3 Berkeley Handicap at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

I'madrifter set fractions of 22.03, 44.71 and 1:08.66 before winning the one mile race in 1:35.13. Palmeiro, who ran second the entire race, was 2 1/2 lengths back, beating Skip To The Stone, third the entire race, by 1 1/4 lengths.

"When I saw 44 and change, I was concerned," winning trainer Steve Specht said. "When he showed 44 and 1:08, I was worried, but when nobody made a run at him, I felt good. When he gets on the front end, he gets game.

"(Palmeiro) kept coming up on him, but he relaxed the whole way and wasn't fighting (jockey Roberto Gonzalez)."

Morning-line favorite Western Pride was scratched, and odds-on favorite Halo Cat ran last. He had $79,274 bet on him to show from a $92,178 show pool. As a result, I'madrifter paid $28.20 to show with Palmeiro returning $23.80 and Skip To The Stone $26.40. They were the three longest shots in the show pool.

Baze said Halo Cat "didn't give me any response."

Specht said that I'madrifter's March 22 six-furlong bullet work of 1:10.80 was important.

"I wanted him to be as fit as I could, and we've really let him gallop out the last quarter mile in the morning," Specht said.

I'madrifter earned $55,000 to lift his career total to $275,275 with seven wins in 22 starts for owner Daniel O'Neill.