06/28/2007 11:00PM

Ocala to install synthetic track

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The Ocala Breeders' Sales Company will convert its one-mile racetrack to an all-weather Safetrack surface, the company announced Friday. Construction is planned to begin in July and be completed by early November at the latest.

Tom Ventura, the OBS general manager, said Safetrack was chosen following several years of discussions with Andrews Bowen Ltd., the English company that produces the product.

"The people at Andrews Bowen have a long history with synthetic surfaces," said Ventura. "This particular surface is similar to Polytrack and one we feel fits us here very well."

Ocala Breeders' Sales conducts four 2-year-olds in training sales each year: select sales in February and March, and open sales in April and June. The facility is also utilized as a public training center most of the year and is the site of the OBS Championship Stakes card, a series of stakes races for graduates of the OBS sales held each winter.

"We have long been committed to providing a safe facility, and an all-weather surface will be a significant investment towards achieving that goal," said Tom Chiota, the president of OBS.