Woodbine to Install Polytrack in July

Officials at Woodbine Entertainment Group announced March 28 that the Ontario-based racing and entertainment company will install a Polytrack surface on its one-mile main dirt track at Woodbine.

Construction is slated to begin the first week of July with a formal launch of the surface six to eight weeks later, according to Woodbine publicity director John Siscos. Thoroughbred racing will continue on the inner seven-eighths-mile harness track once the dirt from the main oval is shifted to the inner track.

"We'll move the dirt July 4-7, miss two dates, and hopefully run on July 8," Siscos said.

Woodbine will become the second major North American racetrack to instate the all-weather synthetic surface, which is comprised of polypropylene fibers, silica sand, recycled rubber and other materials, and a wax coating.

"At Woodbine we're proud of the quality of our racing program and committed to being a leader in our business," said David Willmot, WEG's chairman and chief executive officer. "We have a responsibility to help ensure the safety of our sport's athletes--both human and equine--and we're convinced Polytrack is safer. We also believe our customers will welcome the opportunity to wager on racing that is consistent, and competitive."

Turfway Park installed Polytrack in August 2005. In 2004, Keeneland, which owns Turfway in partnership with Harrah's Entertainment, put the footing in place on its five-eighths-mile training course, making it the first public facility in North America to do so.

Keeneland will make a final decision on the installation of Polytrack on its main oval--to be unveiled at the 2006 fall meet--when a proposal is brought before the association's board of directors April 19.

British developer Martin Collins International pioneered Polytrack in Europe more than two decades ago. Keeneland is partnered with the company as its North American distributor.