12/01/2014 11:48AM

Decision on Woodbine main track not likely until March

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Michael Burns
The existing Polytrack surface still will be in place when the 2015 Woodbine meet kicks off in April.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – As the Woodbine meet enters its final week, Steve Koch, vice president of Thoroughbred racing for Woodbine Entertainment Group, said an analysis of the main-track surface is ongoing, and a decision on a potential surface change likely won’t be made until March.

“It’s still an open case,” he said. “All avenues are under full consideration.”

In August, Koch issued a memo to horsemen saying that Woodbine was considering three options for its main-track surface: maintaining the existing Polytrack surface, replacing the existing cushion with a new synthetic surface, or removing the Polytrack and installing a dirt surface.

As expected, Koch said horsemen’s feelings about the issue have been mixed.

“There’s horsemen that feel one way, and there’s horsemen that feel another way,” he said. “In my experience, there’s been very mixed but very strong reactions.”

Regardless of which way Woodbine decides to go, the existing Polytrack surface still will be in place when the 2015 Woodbine meet kicks off in April.

“I would not anticipate a new surface to open the meet in April 2015,” Koch said. “As far as whatever the decision is for the main track, [the installation process of a new surface] is part of the analysis. Does it compromise race dates and those other factors? All of that is an open book.”

Koch said Woodbine is still in discussions with the Ontario Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association on the main track and is performing its own internal analysis.