03/21/2011 1:16PM

Santa Anita takes steps to provide better traction on turf

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Benoit & Associates
Turning Top, shown winning the Beverly Hills, slipped but was not injured during the running of last Saturday's Santa Ana Stakes.

Turning Top, who slipped on the turn of Saturday’s Grade 2 Santa Ana Stakes and recovered to run second to Malibu Pier, emerged from the incident without injury, trainer Simon Callaghan said on Sunday.

Turning Top slipped nearing the quarter pole and missed winning by a length.

“It’s a testament to her that she was coming on after the bad slip,” Callaghan said. “It could have been a lot worse.”

Turning Top was one of two horses who slipped on the turn of the Santa Ana. Eclair de Lune, who eventually finished fifth, lost her footing on the turn.

The incidents will lead to maintenance on the turf course designed to ensure better footing, according to director of racing Mike Harlow.

“We’ll make some adjustments on the turf course,” Harlow said. “We’ll aerate it which will soften up the base a little more. We’ll do it before we run again.”

Callaghan, for one, called for the course to be inspected. “I’m not a track expert, but with the number of incidents there have been it needs addressing,” Callaghan said.

There was no turf racing on Sunday because of rain. There are two turf races scheduled for Wednesday, although there is a possibility they could be moved to the main track, depending on rainfall early in the week. Harlow said the track would be aerated before turf racing resumes.

Saturday, the turf rails were set 15 feet away from the inside of the course. Harlow said during the final weeks of the meeting horses will raced on the inside portion of the course more frequently.

Malibu Pier, who won her first stakes in the Santa Ana, and Turning Top are likely to return in the $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf on April 16.

“She gets the mile and a quarter,” Callaghan said of Turning Top.

Malibu Pier has never run that far, but trainer Carla Gaines said the Santa Barbara will be strongly considered.