08/16/2006 12:00AM

New date for Polytrack

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Racing on Woodbine's new synthetic Polytrack racing surface, which remains under construction, is now scheduled to begin on Aug. 30.

Woodbine's original goal, announced this spring, was to have the new surface ready for racing by the end of August, but that had been pushed up to Aug. 23, as reflected by the most recent condition book.

"When we established that date, we were actually running ahead of schedule," said Jim Ormiston, Woodbine's executive vice president and chief operating officer, on Wednesday. "Now, we're back on schedule.

"We want to have that track in perfect condition. You only get one chance to have it right, so we're going to have it right.

"This gives us lots of time to install the material and to groom it perfectly, and to train horses over it before we race."

Ormiston cited problems with some of the materials as the reason for the return to a late-August target date.

"We didn't like the look of some of the material we had, so we changed it," said Ormiston. "That happens on jobs, and we're really fussy. That base is going to be down, and that track's going to be down, for 10 to 20 years.

"Now, we're very happy with what we've got. We think it's perfect, which is what we're striving for."

Woodbine had laid down an approximately quarter-mile section of macadam, the final sub-layer of the new track, and topped it with Polytrack late last week. That strip extends from the head of the stretch to just past the finish line.

Ormiston said the remainder of the macadam was to be placed down over the next few nights, beginning Wednesday.

"It can move pretty quick once we get the base perfect," said Ormiston.

Woodbine closed its former one-mile dirt track following the racing of July 3 to accommodate the Polytrack project. Since July 8, dirt racing here has been conducted on the inner track, a seven-furlong Standardbred track that has been converted for use by the Thoroughbreds.