Horses have begun training over the all-weather SAFETRACK surface at OBS.

Horses have begun training over the all-weather SAFETRACK surface at OBS.

OBS Unveils Synthetic Surface

A synthetic surface is in place at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. complex.

Ocala Breeders’ Sale Co., which recently completed the conversion of its one-mile dirt racetrack to an all-weather SAFETRACK surface, had its first horses work over the new track Nov. 16.

“(My horses) appeared to like it a lot--they bounced right across like they have done (on other synthetic surfaces),” said Eddie Woods, a consignor and owner of Eddie Woods Training Center near Ocala, Fla. Woods said he worked about a half-dozen of his unraced 2-year-olds on the surface.

“The only other experience we’ve had with that kind of track is when we took 2-year-olds to Keeneland, and I thought (SAFETRACK) was quite similar to (the Keeneland Polytrack),” Woods said. “We just put some horses on there and had them go around to make sure everything went fine, and as we expected, it did.”

Woods, a member of the OBS board of directors, said the decision was made to install a synthetic surface at the sale company’s property after the positive response from last year’s 2-year-old in training sale at Keeneland.

“Last year (at Keeneland) was excellent,” Woods said. “That was one of the reasons we put it in at OBS--for consistency in the surface and for breeze shows, etc.”

Installation for the multimillion-dollar surface, manufactured by British company Andrews Bowen, began last summer and was completed well ahead of next year’s juvenile sale season and the OBS Day of Champions slated for Feb. 11, 2008.

According to the Andrews Bowen Web site, SAFETRACK is made by blending multi-washed fine silica sand with synthetic fibers, rubber chips, and a coating of wax to give a cushioned, stable surface.