Del Mar officially broke ground Jan. 31 for the installation of a Polytrack surface, which will replace the main dirt track of the Southern California oval.
Churchill Downs Inc.'s Arlington Park apparently is poised to announce that it has chosen Polytrack for its new synthetic surface, preparations for which already are well underway at the Chicago-area track.
Bay Meadows Race Course, long rumored to be facing demolition in favor of redevelopment plans approved by the city of San Mateo, may seek an exemption from a California Horse Racing Board mandate to replace its existing dirt track with an artificial one by the end of 2007.
Investigations by racing authorities and officials at Wolverhampton Raceocurse in Britain have determined that the Polytrack artificial surface in use at the track is not responsible for five equine fatalities and a series of recent spills.
The California Coastal Commission has approved plans by Del Mar to replace its dirt surface with a synthetic Polytrack, track officials said.
- By Ray Paulick
Ray Paulick - It's difficult to get away from talk of synthetic surfaces, whether it concerns racing in North America, Asia, Europe, or Dubai.
Empire Racing Associates, a finalist for New York's Thoroughbred racing franchise, on Nov. 27 released a plan addressing measures designed to improve racing and training safety.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has announced the selection of Martin Collins Surfaces and Footings and its Polytrack surface as the new main track surface for its 2007 summer racing season.
Members of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority racing team, as well as two trainers, visited Tapeta Farm in Maryland recently to review a synthetic racing surface with the inventor of Tapeta, trainer Michael Dickinson.
William S. Farish cited five current developments that give him optimism about the future of the Thoroughbred industry during his remarks as the honor guest at the Thoroughbred Club of America's 75th annual testimonial dinner, held at Keeneland Nov. 2.
The new chief executive officer of Churchill Downs Inc. believes horse racing has an opportunity to move to another level if the industry embraces a new way of thinking.
Martin Schwartz's Gorella worked in the company with a stablemate and got five furlongs in :58 over the Polytrack at Keeneland Race Course Sunday in preparation for the Nov. 4 World Thoroughbred Championships at Churchill Downs. She wasn't alone as several horses with Breeders' Cup aspirations got their final works in on the morning.
Keeneland reported record attendance and a 12.3% increase in total wagering at the 17-day fall race meeting that ended Oct. 28, its first with a new Polytrack surface.
After shipping into Kentucky Oct. 10, the California-based Lava Man is adjusting well to his new surroundings at Keeneland Race Course as he preps for the $5- million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Churchill Downs Nov. 4. According to trainer Doug O'Neill, the 5-year-old gelding settled in without a problem and is galloping daily over Keeneland's new Polytrack synthetic surface.
The stars will be shining down on Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 4, but many of the brightest ones will not even show up until the middle of Breeders' Cup week. As a result, several New York-based journalists, and one Jerseyite, have changed plans and will inhabit the Big Apple until the big guns complete their serious training.
Brisnet.com is now publishing individual all-weather-surface records for all horses in its past performances.
As Keeneland officials noted with a laugh, it couldn't have been better scripted. But sometimes in horse racing, things have a funny way of coming together despite numerous factors. And on Friday, opening day at the Lexington racetrack, they did just that.
Some of the top fillies and mares in training have been entered in Sunday's $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I), the fourth of four grade I stakes on opening weekend at Keeneland in Lexington.
Keeneland will celebrate two milestones when the historic racetrack opens its fall meeting Oct. 6. In addition to the completion of its extensive track renovation, highlighted by the new Polytrack synthetic surface, Keeneland will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its inaugural race meet in 1936.
- By Steve Haskin
When the dust settles following this weekend's major stakes, we could be saluting the geriatric set if 8-year-old The Tin Man and 7-year-olds Perfect Drift and Meteor Storm come away with victories in their respective races.
Keeneland officials held a press briefing Thursday morning to unveil its new Polytrack surface and to also showcase several other improvements that have been made for the fall meeting that gets underway Oct. 6.
From a distance, it looks like dirt--a little on the tan side. Up close, it looks like fake dirt. But it's really just modified Polytrack, complete with Spandex, cabling material, and more sand.
Demi Song bounced his way into Canadian Thoroughbred record books at Woodbine Aug. 30 when the gelding won the first race over the track's new Polytrack surface.
Woodbine unveiled its state-of-the-art Polytrack racing surface for training on Sunday. Hundreds of horses galloped, jogged, or walked while 84 recorded timed workouts ranging from two furlongs to seven furlongs during the morning session.
Racing surface projects continued Aug. 24 at two Kentucky tracks, with a new mix of materials being placed on top of the Polytrack at Turfway Park, and construction crews laying the asphalt layer for the new Polytrack that will debut at Keeneland in October.
Woodbine Entertainment Group has targeted Aug. 30 for its first race to take place on the Toronto track's new state-of-the-art Polytrack surface.
J. Patrick Barrett, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of Horse Racing in New York, will discuss the role and work of the committee over the past year when he delivers the keynote address Aug. 20 at The Jockey Club Round Table Conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
The Polytrack surface at Turfway Park has held up well in the heat of the summer, but it will be modified before the next live meet begins Sept. 6 at the Northern Kentucky racetrack.
Keeneland will inaugurate its new Polytrack surface this fall by offering 19 stakes worth $5.1 million. It will host at least one stakes race on 13 days of its 17-day fall meet.
Woodbine Entertainment Group announced Thursday it has received approval from the Ontario Racing Commission to drop nine dates from Woodbine's 2006 Thoroughbred racing schedule.
Synthetic surfaces will be mandatory at major Thoroughbred race tracks in California by the end of next year under a regulatory amendment given final approval by the state's Horse Racing Board on May 25.
A bill that would require major racetracks in California to install a polymer synthetic type-racing surface by the end of 2007 sailed through the State Senate on May 11.
A fledgling group of owners and breeders in New York has launched a new effort to study a variety of issues affecting the safety of Thoroughbred horses, including whether some of the state's racetracks should install alternative racing surfaces.
The Keeneland Association board of directors gave its approval to install a synthetic surface known as Polytrack on the main racetrack during an April 19 meeting. Construction is scheduled to begin in May and the track will be ready for racing when the fall meet opens Oct. 6.
Wagering on Saturday's 10-race Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) program totaled an all-time Keeneland record $18,306,844. It topped by almost $1 million the previous record of $17,347,623 set during last year's Blue Grass program.
The first meet with a Polytrack surface proved not only to produce solid footing but also solid financial figures.
With only three racing days left in the Turfway Park meet, the connections of the top Thoroughbred in North America by victories are deciding what to do with the gelding, a former stakes competitor who won his sixth race of the year April 1.
Officials at Woodbine Entertainment Group announced March 28 that the Ontario-based racing and entertainment company will install a Polytrack surface on its one-mile main dirt track at Woodbine. Construction is to begin in early July.
John Oxley's Strong Contender, one of what is shaping up to be a full field of contenders for the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park, has had plenty of experience with Polytrack and trainer John T. Ward Jr. figures that to be a plus for Saturday afternoon's race.
Citing the success of its Polytrack surface, Turfway Park announced Friday it will keep its stable area and track open for training during its off seasons.
California Senator Dean Florez is developing legislation to address the issue of funding for the state's major Thoroughbred racetracks to install Polytrack-like surfaces in order to reduce injuries to horses and riders.
Business is way up, and catastrophic injuries are way down. But Turfway Park officials aren't surprised their new Polytrack surface is a work in progress.
California racing associations that operate meets of at least four continuous weeks would be required to install a synthetic racing surface by the end of 2007 or face a loss of dates, the state's horseracing board decided Feb. 16.
Coupled entries for wagering due to common ownership should be eliminated, the California Horse Racing Board decided at its meeting Jan. 19 in Arcadia.
Turfway Park closed its 2005 holiday meet Dec. 31 with increases in virtually every category over the same period in 2004, most of them double-digit improvements.
Large fields and an artificial racing surface are credited for a 17% increase in all-sources handle for the first three weeks of the Turfway Park meet.
Track operators pledged their support to improving the conditions of racing surfaces in the state after about 25 trainers descended on the California Horse Racing Board meeting Dec. 1 at Hollywood Park to seek the commission's assistance.
Turfway Park will get a more accurate indication of how its synthetic Polytrack will play during four months of fall and winter racing that begins Nov. 27, opening day of the holiday meet.
Though it hasn't made an official decision on whether to install Polytrack on its main dirt track, the board of directors of Keeneland directed management Oct. 12 to continue with the planning, design, and engineering for the synthetic surface.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - So far, so good. That's the early report card on Polytrack, the all-weather surface that was tested under American racing conditions for the first time at the recently concluded Turfway Park meeting in Northern Kentucky.
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