Del Mar plans to replace its Polytrack surface with dirt, track president and chief executive officer Joe Harper said Feb. 18.
Turfway Park expects much warmer temperatures the week of Feb. 16 that will allow proper maintenance of its Polytrack surface and a return to live racing Feb. 21.
After an eight-month break, Turfway Park will kick off its 38th consecutive holiday meet Dec. 1 featuring the first phase of a three-year renovation of its Polytrack surface.
Though it already has one of the safest tracks in the country, Turfway Park plans $500,000 worth of improvements to its Polytrack surface through 2015.
Fall Stars weekend brought a bevy of surprises as favorites were felled in the major races and a record rainfall pelted Keeneland on the afternoon of Oct. 5. read blog
Keeneland officials are expecting a typical fall meet from a horse-population perspective, and that's a good thing given increasing competition for racehorses at tracks around the country.
"If horses could talk, what a job this would be," said one Gary Contessa, enjoying a bountiful breakfast at Keeneland. "I'd ask that sunofagun right now, 'Do you like that track as much as you like the grass?"
Keeneland said Feb. 7 it has no intention to remove its Polytrack surface after this year's spring meet. The track responded to a request for comment based on rumors that have recently circulated.
Woodbine Entertainment Group announced Dec. 20 that handle on the Woodbine 2012 live Thoroughbred meet, which concluded Dec. 16, showed impressive growth over the 2011 season.
The $150,000 Arlington Oaks (gr. III) returns to the schedule at Arlington Park July 21 after a one-year hiatus, featuring a well-matched field of eight distaffers headed by Spendthrift Farm's Treasured Up.
Here are some things people have had to say that didn't make it into my stories. read blog
Steve and Lenny dissect the Breeders' Cup races, the many upcoming prep races leading into the Breeders' Cup and a BC Maiden Special Weight as #16 for the card.Sponsored by Darby Dan Farm watch video
Keeneland reported business gains for the first three days of its spring meet, including record attendance for a three-day period.
Officials at Turfway Park, which at the end of 2010 completed five full years of racing on Polytrack, said the results have been largely positive, and there is no thought of returning to dirt.
As Del Mar closed its 2010 race meeting, Joe Harper, CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, discussed the possible new horizons of California racing.
Keeneland has offered buyouts to some of its employees in the wake of a financial crunch brought about by a number of factors.
Del Mar canceled training on its main track the morning of July 22 when it was determined that there had been some separation of its Polytrack materials in the stretch area causing some inconsistencies in the surface makeup.
The changing climate of the Thoroughbred industry and key areas of improvement were prominent topics of discussion by trainers Jonathan Sheppard and Christophe Clement at the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club meeting.
Woodbine begins its long meet April 2 with a focus on change, a strong purse structure and stakes schedule, and hope its expansion project gets off the ground.
Keeneland will offer $3.65 million in purses for 16 stakes races, in addition to a variety of on-site events and new wagering and marketing initiatives.
Bear Stables' Fatal Bullet, second in last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), returns to a synthetic surface in the grade III Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland for its Oct. 9 opening-day program.
State-of-the-art track maintenance equipment in use for less than two weeks on Arlington's Polytrack course has already led to positive feedback from local horsemen.
A field of at least 10, headed by Lori and George Hall's West Side Bernie, appears likely for the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes for 3-year-olds at Turfway Park March 21.
A month after Turfway Park experienced eight catastrophic breakdowns during its 21-day holiday meet, state veterinarian Dr. Bryce Peckham and Turfway president Bob Elliston were on hand at a Feb. 10 Kentucky Horse Racing Commission meeting in Lexington to present commissioners a much more positive report.
Management at Turfway Park is continuing to be diligent in seeking answers to why the number of catastrophic (fatal) injuries doubled during the Northern Kentucky track's recent holiday meet.
Contrasting views on the future of synthetic tracks were expressed at the meeting of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities in Paris on Oct. 6, following the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) meeting at Longchamp.
Lori and George Hall's West Side Bernie made it two-for-two in his career with a victory in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) at Turfway Park Sept. 27 and stamped his ticket to the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park.
Bear Stables' Fatal Bullet left no questions unanswered Sept. 27 with an authoritative track-record victory in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) for 3-year-olds at Turfway Park and appears headed to the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.
Keeneland, whose fall meet begins Oct. 3, is launching a "PolyCapping" online database to provide more information for handicappers.
Churchill Downs and Great Britain's Kempton Park Racecourse have announced a race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds that will provide a clear path for the winner to a starting spot in the field for the 2009 running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The first Quarter Horse race at Turfway Park since 1972, and the first held anywhere on Polytrack, will be held the evening of Sept. 12 at the Northern Kentucky track.
Del Mar closed its 69th race meeting Sept. 3 with declines in handle and attendance, but track officials were left with a positive attitude in light of tough economic conditions.
Quarter Horses will race on the synthetic Polytrack for the first time Sept. 12 when Turfway Park hosts the $25,000 John Deere Turfway Park Sprint Stakes. The race will be part of the Friday night program of Thoroughbred racing during Turfway's late summer/early fall meet.
A cross-section of the racing industry addressed the New York Task Force on Retired Race Horses on the subject of synthetic surfaces at a one-day forum held July 29 at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Co. pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Water, designed to keep Del Mar's Polytrack more consistent from morning to afternoon, also led to three track records opening day, July 16, at the Southern California track. The five races carded over the synthetic surface were run at four different distances, with new marks set at 5 1/2 furlongs, six furlongs and a mile.
Two exhibition races for Standardbred pacers were held at Keeneland the afternoon of May 21 to give the principals in a racetrack under construction in Alberta, Canada, an idea as to whether a synthetic surface can be used for both breeds.
Trainer Todd Pletcher doesn't have the first, second, or third choice in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). In fact, his horses were assigned odds of 15-1 (Monba) and 20-1 (Cowboy Cal) on the morning line. So, after giving an update on the status of his runners, Pletcher was left to confirm Rick Dutrow Jr.'s confidence in Big Brown during a May 1 press conference at Churchill Downs.
For several 3-year-olds pointing toward the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland, the April 19 event offers a final chance at graded earnings and entry into the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I). But the horse whose form points to a likely win in the 1 1/16-mile event has no aspirations of making the Derby -- and he could spoil the plans of those who do when a field of 11 goes postward in the final Derby prep of the season.
Well, should we talk about the vagaries of Polytrack form for the umpteenth time or concentrate on the weekend's racing?
The first new racecourse to open in Britain since 1928 is finally meant to stage a race meeting, April 20, over 18 months late.Great Leighs, which has a Polytrack surface, was meant to open in October 2006 but various delays, most involving planning and construction, have occurred
The number of catastrophic injuries on dirt tracks has gone up while the corresponding number on synthetic surfaces has gone down, according to a revision of a report first given at the March 17 Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit.
Pyro may be on fire going into the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 12, but 11 other runners will attempt to douse his Derby dreams in the 1 1/8-mile event.
Ventura proved her affinity for Polytrack and American stakes competition when she mowed down a field of experienced contenders at Keeneland in the $200,000 Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. II) April 9.
At The Moment Stables' Lady Belsara, the Keeneland track record-holder for 6 1/2 furlongs on Polytrack, has been retired, according to Steve Kintz, father of trainer Matt Kintz.
Ariege and Golden Doc A, the one-two finishers in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) March 8, will renew their rivalry in the Midwest in the $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland.
Ike and Dawn Thrash's Dawn After Dawn was a solid performer in each of her four past starts, registering two wins -- one in the La Canada Stakes (gr. II) -- under jockey Garrett Gomez.
Darley Stabe's Little Belle battled back in the stretch to fend off Bsharpsonata to capture Saturday's Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland by a hard-fought neck.
Keeneland director of racing Rogers Beasley said the racetrack is ready to open its spring meeting April 4, despite the threat of heavy rain in the area beginning April 3 and continuing through opening day. Forecasts are calling for around three inches of rain in the Central Kentucky area.
Mid-morning on Turfway Park's backside March 21, Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) contenders were pulling at hay nets or dozing, blanketed against the morning chill. Horses and trainers alike are, as trainer Grant Hofmans said, "on cruise control" until March 22.
- By Dan Liebman
You can bet there are those pushing for a return to a dirt surface at Santa Anita
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