Synthetic era ends at Keeneland Race Course as Polytrack is removed

May 23, 2014 

ABR Construction Inc. is removing about 16,000 tons of Polytrack surface at Keeneland Race Course. Keeneland installed Polytrack about eight years ago to improve safety. But Polytrack has not caught on at other tracks, and ABR will now put down a dirt track in time for the fall meet.

"We hoped it would become the prevalent and predominant racing surface around America. And for various reasons, that's just not happening," Keeneland president Bill Thomason said in April.

"With that reality and knowing one of our prevailing missions is providing racing at the highest level, we have horses and trainers who just don't come here, don't come for those high-level races. So we've been looking at it for a while. This is not something that happened quickly for Keeneland."

Keeneland's return to dirt will leave Turfway Park in Florence; Woodbine in Toronto; Arlington in Arlington Heights, Ill.; Presque Isle Downs in Erie, Pa.; and Golden Gate Fields in Berkeley, Calif., as the only remaining major tracks in North America to retain a synthetic surface.

See a photo gallery.

Read Alicia Wincze Hughes' April 2 story about Keeneland scrapping Polytrack.

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