03/01/2006 1:00AM

Knapp out to salvage rough meet


ARCADIA, Calif. - Sick and tired of watching Aries Rising finish in front of his starters, trainer Steve Knapp took action on Feb. 17 and claimed the 4-year-old gelding for $32,000.

Knapp and new owners James and Marcia Equils will be looking for a quick payback on Friday when Aries Rising makes the second start of his career on turf in an optional claimer for California-breds at a mile on turf.

"He beat me a couple of times, and I decided it was time to go," Knapp said of the recent claim.

has been claimed in his last three starts. Aries Rising was taken by Bill Spawr for $16,000 when he won at Hollywood Park on Dec. 11, by Mike Machowsky for $25,000 from a win here on Jan. 20, and then by Knapp.

Aries Rising has raced primarily on dirt in his 19-race career, which includes five wins and earnings of $93,260. All the wins have come since April.

"He's a trier and a good-looking horse," Knapp said. "He's sound for a claiming horse."

In his only other start on turf, Aries Rising finished eighth in an allowance race at Golden Gate Fields last May.

"I think he can win," Knapp said. "I think he's ready to run a big race."

Aries Rising can help rejuvenate Knapp's meeting. He has just 6 wins from 97 starters. Last fall, he won the training title at the Oak Tree at Santa Anita meeting.

"It's been horrible," Knapp said of his meeting. "We haven't had any racing luck."

Aries Rising is facing several horses with turf experience.

, trained by Ron Ellis, may go favored and is seeking his second win at Santa Anita. Last October, Karn, 4, won a $70,000 claimer at a mile on turf.

Dancing Edie and Mr. Wolverine are coupled. Both are owned by partnerships that include Fast Lane Farms.

, a filly trained by Craig Dollase, was third in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks last August. She has not started since stumbling at the start of the Grade 1 Gazelle Handicap at Belmont Park last September.

On Feb. 5, Dancing Edie was favored to win an allowance race on the hillside turf course, but she flipped in the paddock and was scratched just before the race.

, trained by Jorge Gutierrez, has not started since finishing third in a first-condition allowance at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf at Hollywood Park in June.