Horse racing, Santa Anita

How ‘terrible’ is Santa Anita’s turf course?

I wrote a blog last week about what jockeys and trainers were doing well on Santa Anita’s turf course since the start of the meet on Dec. 26, 2013 in Arcadia.

Along the way, I mentioned Santa Anita was one of the top turf courses around, but it would be interesting to see how it will be as racing continues into the longer meet of May and June due to the closure of Hollywood Park.

No sooner had I posted the blog than I received an email from a person in the industry who said the turf course “sucks right now. Way too hard.

“(Santa Anita) doesn’t water near enough. Too much racing.

“Right now, a terrible surface, but nobody says a word.”

I respect this person and it’s tough to argue the point, especially after the last two weekends.

Two weeks ago, stakes star Vagabond Shoes ($665,497 money won from eight career wins) broke down in the Grade II San Luis Rey, which was run at 1 1/2 miles on the turf course. Owned by Hronis Racing LLC and trained by John Sadler, the 7-year-old gelding had to be euthanized.

This past Saturday, jockey Kayla Stra had to pull up maiden Russian Silk, a 3-year-old filly trained by Daniel Dunham, in the ninth race due to a fatal injury. In the process, Stra dislocated her thumb and will be out of action at least a week, if not longer.

There hasn’t been a lot of rain this year in Southern California, but there’s no reason Santa Anita can’t water its turf course a little bit more. I know there is rain in the forecast the next few days so hopefully that will help the situation. Otherwise, maybe horsemen should speak up and make their concerns known for the good of the sport, including horses and jockeys.


@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Sunday’s top choice winners: 2 (Kafister $2.40, first race; Newfound Gold $7.40, third)

Sunday’s second choice winners: 2 (Fury Kapcori $3.80, seventh; Nueva Fortuna $7.20, ninth)

Sunday’s third choice winners: 2 (Street Maven $9.20, sixth; Spring Up $12.40, eighth)

Sunday’s long shot winner: 1 (Life’s Journey $15.60, fourth)



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