07/14/2010 5:23PM

Amina out for three in row


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Trainer Bob Baffert may need two accomplished starters in Friday’s seventh race at Hollywood Park to beat the red-hot Amina.

Trained by Mike Mitchell, Amina has won her last two starts – a $25,000 claimer here on May 28 and an allowance race for statebred females on June 24. In Friday’s fifth race, Amina starts in a $43,000 allowance race over 6 12 furlongs against open company.

Baffert starts Seriously and Toro Bonito, fillies who have been stakes-placed earlier in their careers, but lost their last starts in recent weeks.

Toro Bonito, who will break from the inside post in a field of seven, was second in an allowance race over six furlongs on June 16, finishing 4 3/4 lengths behind a highly-promising stablemate, Rapport. Baffert was not enthused when Toro Bonito drew the rail, but the 4-year-old is a closer likely to race in the second half of the field on the backstretch.

“She’s coming around again,” Baffert said.

Owned by breeders Hal and Patti Earnhardt, Toro Bonito has 1 victory in 13 starts. She started in six consecutive stakes from September 2008 to February 2009, with her best result during that span a third in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes in December 2008.

Seriously was third in the restricted Ifyoucouldseemenow Stakes for 2-year-old fillies here last December. In four subsequent starts, her best result was a nose loss in an optional claimer here on April 25. She returned to finish seventh after a slow start in the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on May 9, a loss that Baffert blamed on himself.

“I ran her back too soon,” he said.

Both of the Baffert-trained fillies will be behind Amina for the first half of the race. Amina has shown the ability to lead, in the $25,000 claimer on May 28, or stalk the pace, as she did in her last start. She has won 3 of 8 starts for owner Salah Al Mudarris.

Downhill Diva, the winner of an allowance race for statebred females over seven furlongs on June 12, is the only other starter who won her last start. Trained by Patricia Harrington, Downhill Diva is having a strong year, having won 2 of 3 starts.Folk Dancer, who won a $50,000 claimer at Santa Anita in April, will play a vital role, with the ability to lead throughout.