A fledgling group of owners and breeders in New York has launched a new effort to study a variety of issues affecting the safety of Thoroughbred horses, including whether some of the state's racetracks should install alternative racing surfaces.
The Keeneland Association board of directors gave its approval to install a synthetic surface known as Polytrack on the main racetrack during an April 19 meeting. Construction is scheduled to begin in May and the track will be ready for racing when the fall meet opens Oct. 6.
Wagering on Saturday's 10-race Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) program totaled an all-time Keeneland record $18,306,844. It topped by almost $1 million the previous record of $17,347,623 set during last year's Blue Grass program.
The first meet with a Polytrack surface proved not only to produce solid footing but also solid financial figures.
With only three racing days left in the Turfway Park meet, the connections of the top Thoroughbred in North America by victories are deciding what to do with the gelding, a former stakes competitor who won his sixth race of the year April 1.
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 to begin in early July.
John Oxley's Strong Contender, one of what is shaping up to be a full field of contenders for the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park, has had plenty of experience with Polytrack and trainer John T. Ward Jr. figures that to be a plus for Saturday afternoon's race.
Citing the success of its Polytrack surface, Turfway Park announced Friday it will keep its stable area and track open for training during its off seasons.
California Senator Dean Florez is developing legislation to address the issue of funding for the state's major Thoroughbred racetracks to install Polytrack-like surfaces in order to reduce injuries to horses and riders.
Business is way up, and catastrophic injuries are way down. But Turfway Park officials aren't surprised their new Polytrack surface is a work in progress.
California racing associations that operate meets of at least four continuous weeks would be required to install a synthetic racing surface by the end of 2007 or face a loss of dates, the state's horseracing board decided Feb. 16.
Coupled entries for wagering due to common ownership should be eliminated, the California Horse Racing Board decided at its meeting Jan. 19 in Arcadia.
Turfway Park closed its 2005 holiday meet Dec. 31 with increases in virtually every category over the same period in 2004, most of them double-digit improvements.
Large fields and an artificial racing surface are credited for a 17% increase in all-sources handle for the first three weeks of the Turfway Park meet.
Track operators pledged their support to improving the conditions of racing surfaces in the state after about 25 trainers descended on the California Horse Racing Board meeting Dec. 1 at Hollywood Park to seek the commission's assistance.
Turfway Park will get a more accurate indication of how its synthetic Polytrack will play during four months of fall and winter racing that begins Nov. 27, opening day of the holiday meet.
Though it hasn't made an official decision on whether to install Polytrack on its main dirt track, the board of directors of Keeneland directed management Oct. 12 to continue with the planning, design, and engineering for the synthetic surface.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick - So far, so good. That's the early report card on Polytrack, the all-weather surface that was tested under American racing conditions for the first time at the recently concluded Turfway Park meeting in Northern Kentucky.
Trainer Patrick Biancone will stable 24 of his charges at Turfway Park through October to train over the track's Polytrack surface. The horses are expected on the grounds Oct. 2. Among them are Stream Cat, Angara, Henny Hughes, Luas Line, Pomeroy, Ball Four, and Asi Siempre.
The floodgates opened in the Turfway Park racing office the morning of Sept. 8 when almost 100 horses were entered for the Sept. 10 program that features the $75,000 Weekend Delight Stakes.
Brandon Minnock spent the day at Oldham County High School in La Grange, Ky., Sept. 7. His mother, Diane, then drove him to Turfway Park, where the 16-year-old won his first career race as a jockey on opening night at the Northern Kentucky track.
Turfway Park launched what some officials said they hope is a new trend in American racing Sept. 7 when Regal Reproach rallied from off the pace to win the first race on the new Polytrack.
The first pari-mutuel race on the new Polytrack at Turfway Park won't take place until Sept. 7, but the surface already has produced a stakes winner.
More than 3 1/2 inches of rain had absolutely no impact on the new Polytrack at Turfway Park, which opens the evening of Sept. 7, but the impending change in race-day medication regulations for Thoroughbred racing in Kentucky is said to have put a dent in the opening-night entry box.
The feedback was much louder than the sound of hooves as Turfway Park unveiled its Polytrack surface with three "trial" races Wednesday morning.
The first pari-mutuel race on the new Polytrack at Turfway Park isn't scheduled until the evening of Sept. 7, but trainers have showed they're anxious to try it out by entering enough horses for three exhibition events the morning of Aug. 24.
The Polytrack racing surface at Turfway Park was installed two weeks ahead of schedule, but the sighs of relief by track officials may be short-lived as the Sept. 7 meet opener approaches. This is new territory, and questions abound, not the least of which is how horsemen and the betting public will respond.
Turfway Park began installing the final layer of its innovative Polytrack racing surface Monday morning, the last step in the Installation of the unique material at the Northern Kentucky Thoroughbred track. The entire project is about three weeks ahead of schedule and is expected to be finished by July 15.
Turfway Park president Bob Elliston said he expects the Kentucky racetrack's new Polytrack surface to be ready for horses to train on by mid-August, when trainers are expected to begin arriving for the fall meet that begins Sept. 7.
To provide the industry with the most accurate description of track conditions and course types, Equibase announced it has begun collecting and distributing "sealed" track and "all weather" track information in its past performances and race result charts.
Turfway Park will be the first racetrack in North America to install a Polytrack surface on its main track, Turfway president Bob Elliston announced April 27 at a press conference at Keeneland.
Keeneland and Turfway Park plan a joint press conference April 27 at Keeneland to discuss installation of the Polytrack surface, now used on Keeneland's five-eighths-mile training track, at Turfway.
Rogers Beasley, Keeneland's Director of Racing, and Jim Gallagher, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, will address the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club at the monthly meeting April 5 at the Crowne Plaza Lexington – Campbell House. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.
Keeneland has completed the installation of a Polytrack surface on its five-eighths of a mile training track located adjacent to its main track. It is the first of its type at a public racing or training facility in North America.
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