Arlington Park to Install Polytrack for $10 Million

Edited press release

Arlington Park has selected Polytrack as the new synthetic racing surface that will replace its organic dirt track for the 2007 meet that begins May 4. The project will cost an estimated $10 million.

“Arlington Park has always considered the health and safety of the horses and riders as our most important priority,” track president Roy Arnold said Feb. 6. “We are confident that our new Polytrack surface will provide the safest and best racing surface possible and will strengthen our leadership in the racing industry.”

The Polytrack surface is comprised of sand, synthetic fibers, and recycled rubber that are combined and coated with a microcrystalline wax, which ensures that water flows vertically through it to the specially designed sub-surface drainage system to provide a safer, more consistent racing surface. The specific mix that will be utilized by Arlington will have the same composition, including jelly cable, as the surface currently used at Keeneland in Kentucky.

Keeneland owns an interest in Martin Collins, the company that produces Polytrack. The Lexington racing and sale company also owns half of Turfway Park, which became the first facility to install Polytrack for racing purposes.

“We are honored that Arlington Park has selected Polytrack for their surface,” Keeneland president and chief executive officer Nick Nicholson said. “We have admired and respected Dick Duchossois for many years, and look forward to working with him on this project, as he has been instrumental in making Arlington Park into a showcase for Thoroughbred racing worldwide.”

“The specific mixture of the Polytrack surface that we’ve selected has been tested at Keeneland in one of the nation’s premier race meets involving many of the best horses in the country,” Arnold said. “There have been outstanding results with no significant maintenance issues and consistent praise from the horsemen. With this decision, we expect to improve our quality of racing with more fit, healthier horses and by attracting more trainers with better horses, including horsemen from Keeneland who want to run their horses on Polytrack at Arlington Park, too.”

Arlington, owned by Churchill Downs Inc., began construction of the new track’s base during the second week of December and is scheduled to complete the installation of the Polytrack surface by April 16. The main track will be open for training April 25. Since construction began, the old dirt cushion and pad have been removed and the base has been graded. Trenching for the drainage system began during the week of Jan. 22, and the drainage pipes and drainage stones were delivered the week of Jan. 29.

The Polytrack materials will be produced locally in Troy Grove, Ill., and will be delivered to Arlington in stages starting sometime around the beginning of March.