03/11/2015 1:25PM

Woodbine to replace Polytrack with Tapeta in 2016

Michael Burns
Woodbine's Polytrack surface has been in place since 2006.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Woodbine has announced that the Polytrack on its one-mile main track will be replaced with another synthetic surface, Tapeta, in time for the 2016 racing season.

Construction on the Tapeta track will commence Dec. 1. The four dates scheduled for the first week of December will be moved to Thursdays in November, pending Ontario Racing Commission approval. Closing day of this year’s 133-day meet is set for Nov. 29.

“At Woodbine, it’s our mandate to act in the best interests of horse racing, and a regular, thorough examination of our track surfaces is paramount in that pursuit,” said Jim Lawson, the chairman of the board of Woodbine Entertainment Group. We went through an exhaustive consultation exercise in our search for the new main track. A surface that will endure racing and training through hot and cold climate extremes for more than eight months a year is critical to our horsepeople.”

Sue Leslie, president of the Ontario Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, backed Woodbine’s decision to go with Tapeta over dirt.

“The HBPA has appreciated WEG’s regular and transparent communication with the HBPA’s directors and its members as Woodbine reviewed options for a new racing surface,” Leslie said. “While acknowledging that HBPA members were very split on their preferred surface, we are satisfied that WEG was thorough and open-minded in its review. The change of surface announcement is a good day for horsepeople.”

Woodbine’s Polytrack, which has had its share of problems, was installed in August 2006 and has been in use since that September.

The other Tapeta surfaces in North America are at Golden Gate Fields and Presque Isle Downs.