08/09/2006 11:00PM

Surface installation 'juggled' a bit

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
The first layer of macadam is laid Thursday, to be topped with the new Polytrack racing strip.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario - The next phase of Woodbine's installation of a synthetic Polytrack racing surface began here early Thursday morning, with the first section of macadam being laid on the homestretch.

Wednesday, Aug. 23, is the tentative target date for Polytrack's debut.

The macadam, which will be the final sub-layer of the new surface, has to be paved and closed to all forms of traffic for three straight days. The process originally had been scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Wednesday's card had been canceled to accommodate the project, and Thursday was dark following the holiday Monday card

"There's been a bit of a change," said Gerri Kretschmer, project coordinator for the Polytrack installation. "We had some supply problems with the stone, but that's been rectified now.

"We still basically on schedule, we've just juggled things around a little bit. We just can't keep changing the race dates, so we're going to try something different.

"I think we can manage. We're going to try it, anyway. If we have to adjust, we'll adjust."

Kretschmer explained that the plan had been to apply the macadam to the entire circumference of the racetrack and then add the Polytrack cushion.

Now, the macadam will be applied in several phases with each section being topped with Polytrack when ready. The strip being installed on Thursday measured almost a quarter-mile.

The first truckloads of Polytrack were scheduled to be shipped over Friday from the nearby warehouse, where 15,000 tons of the material is ready to move.

Woodbine's one-mile dirt track closed following the card of July 3. Racing since then has been conducted on the converted seven-furlong Standardbred oval.