By Ray Paulick - Conventional wisdom suggests front-running horses have a huge advantage if they are allowed to set the tortoise-like fractions established in this year's Blue Grass. But Polytrack has thrown conventional wisdom out the window.
Keeneland pumped up the promotion of its April sale of 2-year-olds in training last year, and the effort paid off as the auction enjoyed increases in its gross revenue, average price, and median price, which set a sale record. But can Keeneland keep the momentum going Tuesday, when the latest edition of the sale will be held in Central Kentucky?
Offspring of Mineshaft, Grand Slam, and Distorted Humor are generating a buzz before the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training.
A colt by Elusive Quality and fillies by Hennessy and Boundary were among the standouts Monday during the second and final under tack show for the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Street Sounds, making her first start for trainer Michael Matz since winning the Selima Stakes last November on the turf at Laurel, stayed well off the rail at Keeneland Thursday afternoon, scoring a neck victory over favorite Forever Together in the $250,000 Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II).
Three days after an under tack show that produced freakishly fast times, consignors had mostly positive reports about the condition of their horses entered in Keeneland's April sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Trainer Todd Pletcher was the featured speaker at the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers' Club meeting April 11 where he discussed his early career, Polytrack, and the Triple Crown.
Synthetic surface specialist Mary Delaney took the lead shortly after the start and never looked back Wednesday to take Keeneland's Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. II) in impressive fashion.
Citing inclement weather that led to the full or partial cancellation of eight live racing cards, Turfway Park concluded its winter/spring meet with declines in overall and on-track wagering.
Woodbine in Canada will employ a two-step process beginning in May in an attempt to improve the Polytrack surface it installed last summer.
Arlington Park is in the final phase of installing an $11-million Polytrack surface that will debut when live racing begins May 4.
In an agreement with Lingfield Park Racecourse in Surrey, England, Hollywood Park will issue an invitation to the winner of the 2007 Winter Derby (Eng-III) to participate in the 68th running of the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) on June 30.
Following reports that Santa Anita might request more time before installing a synthetic main-track surface, Santa Anita President Ron Charles announced Feb. 21 that Magna Entertainment Corp. is committed to installing such a surface this year.
The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, using funds from the state equine drug council, hopes to hire an equine medical director.
Keeneland catalog for the April sale of 2-year-olds in training has 226 horses. This year's auction will be the first in North America to conduct under tack shows over Polytrack.
Though the evidence may be largely anecdotal, it appears swings in temperature can impact Polytrack and its consistency.
Arlington Park announced Feb. 6 it will install Polytrack for its meet that begins May 4.
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.
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.
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.