05/21/2001 11:00PM

Eight horses and not one a throw-out


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The first step in handicapping a race is to eliminate from consideration those horses with no chance. In the seventh-race feature on Thursday at Hollywood Park, handicappers may proceed directly to step two.

Eight fillies and mares race 1 1/16 miles in the two-other-than allowance, and not one of them can be safely excluded. Bettors able to successfully weed through the confusion will be paid well.

Mind for Gold enters with a slight advantage. A 5-year-old, Mind for Gold consistently earns Beyer Speed Figures in the high 80's, she drops in class after chasing Grade 1 winner Lazy Slusan in Cal-bred stakes, and she appears to be in top form.

Although Mind for Gold has not raced since Feb. 3, her workout pattern is strong and indicates she is ready to fire over a track she won on as a 2-year-old. The possibility of a pace battle between front-runners Favorite Funtime and Deviletta would set up Mind for Gold's late rally.

In addition, Mind for Gold's trainer, Peter Eurton, quietly has established himself as one of the most reliable in Southern California. Since the start of 1999, Eurton has won 33 races from 164 starters, a 20 percent win rate, which is outstanding for a relatively small outfit. Eurton has won with six of his last 15 starters. Mind for Gold, a four-time winner from 17 starts for owner-breeders Frank and Sharon Alesia, is well spotted Thursday with Eddie Delahoussaye up. Entrymate Cee Dreams will pick up the pieces.

There are many alternatives in Thursday's race. Setareh finished second under identical conditions last out, though her vulnerability comes from a one-paced style that has allowed her to win just 2 of 14 races, with six seconds. Favorite Funtime stopped to a walk in her April 26 comeback, but she won a first-level allowance here in April 2000 and is the speed of the race. She must take heat from Deviletta.

Another contender is Win for Us, who is dropping out of a stakes race that produced graded stakes winners Printemps and Saudi Poetry. Letter of Intent finished a no-excuse second as the favorite last time and will finish fast, while St. Eulalia comes from a the red-hot barn of Paddy Gallagher, whose four winners this meet have returned between $8 and $38.