11/10/2010 3:01PM

Ellafitz looks to lead the way in Life Is Sweet

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Ellafitz will be loose on the lead Friday night when she tries to wire a small field in the $50,000 Life Is Sweet Stakes at Hollywood Park.

“She’s training well,” Bob Baffert said.

Ellafitz also is the only front-runner in the five-horse field that entered the Life Is Sweet, a restricted stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. The stakes is race 7 on the night card; first post is 7:05 p.m.

Point of Reference ships in from Golden Gate, It Tiz returns to the main track for the first time since December, Washington Bridge has improved since moving from an inside stall to an outside pen, and Gripsholm Castle’s recent turf races make her a threat.

The horse to catch is Ellafitz, a 2-for-6 Tiznow filly making her first start since finishing third to Grade 1-placed Switch on Sept. 5 at Del Mar. It will be up to jockey Joe Talamo to ration the speed of Ellafitz over a track kind to lone speed. Since racing resumed in fall at Hollywood, 11 of 38 races at 1 1/16 miles have been won by the pacesetter.

Point of Reference has won 5 of 18 for Golden Gate-based trainer Frank Lucarelli; her best races put her in the hunt. It Tiz finished fifth in a Grade 3 turf race last month; she and Gripsholm Castle will rally from behind.

Meanwhile, the improving Washington Bridge is the only starter that enters off a win. Jerry Hollendorfer trains the filly, who won second-level allowance last month at Golden Gate. It was a continuation of her upward cycle that started in summer at Del Mar.

“She was really nervous before,” assistant trainer Dan Ward said. “When we went to Del Mar, we put her in an outside pen, and she’s been a different horse since. She’s really happy looking at everything.”

Washington Bridge finished a half-length behind Ellafitz when they met in the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stake at Del Mar, but Washington Bridge was compromised by a wide trip in that race. Rafael Bejarano rides Washington Bridge, who has won 3 of 16.

The Life Is Sweet is restricted to fillies and mares that have not won stakes worth $40,000 or more at a mile or more. The race could produce a starter for the Grade 2 Bayakoa Handicap on Dec. 5.