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."We expect to complete the installation of the Polytrack on top of the macadam (final sub-layer) by early next week," said Chris Evans, Woodbine's vice president of Thoroughbred racing. "On the stretch turn, we had a problem with some stone, so we wanted to ensure it was in proper condition for when the paving starts. "Paving will begin after the races tonight, as well as on Thursday, along with Friday and Saturday nights. As the macadam is put down, the Polytrack will be brought over and placed on top. From there, our track crew will maintain it and prep it for racing. The target date is August 30 with training taking place at least three to four days prior."Construction began in early July with Thoroughbred racing action moved to the seven-furlong Standardbred racing oval. Standardbred racing's summer meet is currently being held at Mohawk Raceway in Campbellville. It returns to Woodbine on Oct. 9.Polytrack encompasses a specially designed top layer that works in tandem with a unique vertical drainage structure. The top layer – comprised of silica sand, fibers and recycled materials – provides a soft cushion for the horse and rider. It is covered in a wax coating that allows water to flow freely through the top surface to the sub layers below and helps avoid a freezing or inconsistent racetrack-even in inclement weather. The sub-layers include porous macadam and dense aggregate rock that provide a solid foundation while vertical drainage pipes carry water away from the track. Together, these elements are expected to provide a safer, more consistent racing surface compared to a conventional dirt track.
Woodbine is the second North American racetrack to install Polytrack as its main racing surface. Turfway Park, located in Northern Kentucky, installed Polytrack in August 2005.