10/13/2009 11:00PM

Toro Bonito about to start over


ARCADIA, Calif. - Toro Bonito was a tired filly last February after running in six consecutive stakes in Southern California.

"She just went off form, and I gave her a lot of time," trainer Bob Baffert said. "It took her a long time to come back around."

Toro Bonito makes a comeback in Friday's seventh race at Santa Anita, and the six-furlong allowance race for fillies and mares could suit the El Corredor filly.

Several starters have ample speed, while Toro Bonito is best as a stalker.

"She likes to come from off the pace," Baffert said.

Owned by breeders Hal and Patti Earnhardt, Toro Bonito has 1 win in 8 starts, with the victory coming in a maiden race at Del Mar in 2008. She later finished second in the Sharp Cat Stakes and third in the Anoakia and Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet, all last fall.

Seventh-place finishes in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes and Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes earlier this year gave Baffert an excuse to end her winter campaign.

"She was just jammed," Baffert said. "We didn't do any surgery."

The $42,000 allowance race drew a field of 10. Toro Bonito is the only runner with graded stakes experience, although Dancing Erin was second in the Beverly Lewis Stakes at Fairplex Park last month and Speedin Excess was second in the Barretts Debutante in September 2008.

Dancing Erin is quick and is expected to be part of the pace, along with Dani Reese, who drew the rail, the Baffert-trained Via Veneto, and Stash, trained by Bruce Headley.

Dani Reese, 3, has won 2 of 3 starts, with the only loss a fifth-place finish in the Fleet Treat Stakes for statebreds at Del Mar. In that seven-furlong race, she set the pace to the eighth pole and faded to finish three lengths behind Excessive Blend.

"It didn't work out the way the track was playing," trainer Dan Hendricks said of Del Mar. "She came out a little strong, and it cost her. We took off the summer and let her regroup. She seems to have responded well."

Having drawn the rail in Friday's race, Dani Reese will need to use her speed to avoid traffic, Hendricks said.

"We'll have to break running and see what sets up," he said. "Right at the moment, we're trying to get back on track."