Rave Reviews for Woodbine's Polytrack Unveiling

(from Woodbine release)
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.

Executive Flight, trained by Darwin Banach, was the first horse on the track, while Stephen Edwards sent out Brattitude for the first timed workout, a three-furlong breeze in :35 2/5.

"We were first on the Polytrack and, hopefully, we'll be the first to win a stakes race over it," said Banach, who will saddle Executive Flight in the $125,000 Eternal Search Stakes on the first Polytrack race card Aug. 30.

"I trained six over the Polytrack (Sunday) morning, and every one had never trained better," he said.

Banach's enthusiasm for the Polytrack appeared universal on the Woodbine backstretch.

Emma-Jayne Wilson, Woodbine's leading rider, worked two Tom O'Keefe trainees shortly after the track opened and offered her endorsement. "As far as I'm concerned, it's phenomenal," she said. "It's amazingly consistent. It's the Nike Air of horse racing."

Kevin Attard, who saddled Leonnatus Anteas to a win in the Vandal Stakes earlier this month, says his horses trained well over the Polytrack. "The horses seem to get a lot out of it. They appreciated the surface. I think it will help the older horses."

Chris Evans, Woodbine's vice president of Thoroughbred racing, was part of a group of Woodbine officials situated at the rail on Sunday morning gathering feedback on the Polytrack.

"Everybody was raving about the Polytrack," he said. "The feedback was better than we expected. The track seems to be producing the same times as the traditional main track did."

Wednesday's first Polytrack card was drawn Sunday morning with 63 horses for the seven-race program.

The Polytrack launch on Wednesday will feature a 6:35 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony. The first race is set for 6:50 p.m.