06/29/2011 2:15PM

Hollywood Park: Baffert looks to pad his lead in trainer standings


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Ellafitz and Artuya give trainer Bob Baffert two formidable starters in allowance races at Hollywood Park on Friday evening, a chance for the Hall of Famer to further pad his lead at the top of the trainer standings of the spring-summer meeting.

Through Sunday, Baffert had a three-race lead on trainer Mike Mitchell, with 27 wins at the meeting.

Ellafitz will be strongly favored to increase that total when she starts in Friday’s first race, an optional claimer over 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares. Third in the Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar last September, Ellafitz had made three subsequent starts, the most recent of which was a neck loss in an allowance race June 2, her first start of 2011.

“She’s had a lot of issues,” Baffert said. “She got real light on me and she’s had a little of this and that. She should run well. Every time I run her, she hooks a good horse.”

The multiple stakes winners Crisp, Cozi Rosie, and Switch are among the fillies that have beaten Ellafitz.

There is one stakes winner in Friday’s first race in Berg Bahn, winner of the Group 3 Brownstown Stakes on turf in Ireland in June 2010. The other three runners are the stakes-placed Gripsholm Castle and Elvies Lane and Startjumpin Marnie, both trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.

Berg Bahn was unplaced in two stakes last summer and fall after arriving in the United States. She was third after a slow start in an allowance race on turf at Hollywood Park on June 5.

“She walked out of the gate,” trainer Paddy Gallagher said. “She was the last one loaded, and they sprung the gate and it caught her by surprise. It definitely looks like she’s come on from last year.”

Hollendorfer is hoping that Elvies Lane can run well in her second start around two turns. She was fourth when Ellafitz finished second to Kayce Ace on June 2.

“I hope she can turn into a horse that can go on,” he said. “It’s a pivotal race for her.”

Artuya is one of seven fillies in the third race, an allowance race for 3-year-olds over 1 1/16 miles on turf. Artuya won her debut on the surface by leading throughout a one-mile race on May 30 as the 8-5 favorite. She must beat Hout Bay, who was stakes placed at Santa Anita earlier this year.