The new surface is expected to be in place by mid-November, according to a news release issued by the company, well in advance of OBS’s 2-year-old sales season. The one-mile oval also is the site of the Feb. 11 OBS Championship Stakes, the annual installment of live racing the company conducts.
OBS chairman J. Michael O’Farrell Jr. told The Blood-Horse that the shift to a synthetic surface made sense.
“That is the future – most everyone will tell you that,” said O’Farrell of all-weather surfaces. “Of all the accounts we have received, the horses stay sounder.
“And in regards to 2-year-olds, since we sell more than any company in the country, it behooves us to have the best surface we can. We want to take care of the horses.”
O’Farrell said OBS looked at different varieties of synthetic surfaces, but he and other officials were impressed with Safetrack after watching horses train on it at T. Paul Bulmahn’s Goldmark Farm near Ocala, Fla.
“We saw it first hand, and were very impressed,” O’Farrell said.
Safetrack is manufactured by Andrews Bowen Ltd. of England. On its Web-site, the Safetrack material is described as being made by “blending multi-washed fine silica sand with synthetic fibres, rubber chips and a coating of wax to give a cushioned, yet stable surface.”