06/22/2005 11:00PM

Dark Beauty finding turf suits her well


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - A week after Dark Beauty overcame a troubled trip to win a $50,000 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies, she returns as a top contender in a $51,000 allowance race for California-breds on Friday evening at Hollywood Park.

Trained by Barry Abrams, Dark Beauty has drawn the rail in a one-mile turf race, the seventh race. By Bertrando, Dark Beauty will be attempting to win the third race of her career.

The field of six for the allowance equals the smallest field on the eight-race card, but it is the only allowance on the program, which includes four races for maidens.

has improved noticeably since moving to the turf during this meeting. Claimed by Kevin Matties for $32,000 from a victory in a maiden race on the main track on April 14, Dark Beauty returned to finish fifth in a $40,000 claimer for sprinters on dirt here in late April.

Tried on turf for the first time on May 19, Dark Beauty led in midstretch before finishing second in a $55,000 claimer. She followed with the win on June 16, rallying from fifth to outfinish Pleasant Thunder. The performance was notable because Dark Beauty was forced to wait for room leaving the second turn and made up more than three lengths in the stretch. The race was also run during an earthquake that registered 4.9 on the Richter scale.

. One of two entrants trained by Doug O'Neill, Cambiocorsa finished third in an allowance race for statebred fillies and mares on June 1, having led until the final furlong.

O'Neill will also start , who has been second in three consecutive starts, all turf sprints. Friday's race will be Spirited's first appearance at a mile since a sixth-place finish at this level at Santa Anita in September. She won a $40,000 claiming race for turf sprinters last November but is winless in her last six starts.

The other entrants are Proudest Moment, Brave Vixen, and Fortunate Event, the only other member of the field coming off a win aside from Dark Beauty.

Trained by Jerry Fanning, Fortunate Event won a maiden race at a mile on turf for statebreds by a convincing two lengths on June 3. The race was the ninth start of her career and second appearance on turf. She was a troubled fourth in her grass debut on May 12.