12/27/2004 12:00AM

Calder adds rail for chute races


Calder Race Course unveiled a temporary safety rail on Sunday designed to keep horses from turning left and leaving the main course in races run out of the seven-furlong chute. Calder cards races at both 6 1/2 and seven furlongs out of the chute.

The innovative rail is an extension of the regular safety rail and replaces the pipe rail that is commonly used at racetracks throughout the country. The concept is the result of extensive research and development and is the only one of its kind, according to Steve Cross, director of racing surfaces at Calder.

"We have been experimenting over the years with ways to deter horses from making a left turn once they come out of the chute," said Cross, who said four horses have wheeled and attempted to leave the course during the current season. "We had painted the old pipe rail different colors but later learned horses don't see colors. Some don't even see the pipe rail, and that's when they try to bolt to the left."

Cross developed the concept of extending the safety rail to a temporary rail on wheels that can easily be set up and removed.