01/01/2003 12:00AM

I'madrifter repeats in Lafayette Handicap


ALBANY, Calif. - I'madrifter ($3.20) repeated his wire-to-wire victory in the $83,100 Lafayette Handicap on Wednesday at Golden Gate Fields.

Jockey Kevin Krigger, who finished second aboard Poker Brad in the 2002 Lafayette, recorded his first stakes victory as I'madrifter defeated entrymate Halo Cat by 1? (one one-half) lengths in the one-mile race on a wet-fast track in 1:33.98. A third-member of the four-horse entry, Chinkapin, finished third.

"I told him, 'Don't let them eyeball you,' " winning trainer Steve Specht said he told Krigger. "When he's by himself and gets confidence, he digs in.

"He's kind of a one-dimensional horse, but when he gets that dimension, he's tough."

The race was a virtual parade from start to finish. I'madrifter broke sharply from the No. 2 post, beat Halo Cat to the first turn and kept going.

"I knew from when I worked him, if he relaxes, he finishes," Krigger said. "I ran second to him last year. I thought I could catch him in the stretch, but he kept running. He duplicated the race from last year."

I'madrifter has now won six of 18 starts for owner Daniel O'Neill, who purchased him privately as a yearling. He earned $49,330 for the victory, lifting his career earnings to $208,255.