03/11/2015 2:25PM

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.

Marc Rogala More than 1 year ago
If it ain't dirt it ain't a race track!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had hope of Canadian racing once again becoming something that is consistent. Just when I had hope of maybe being able to attract other dirt stars south of the boarder. Maybe we see horses that competed in the Triple Crown races racing on dirt in Canada. WEG has gone out and purchased the biggest gun they could find and shot themselves in the foot once again. I am in the GTA and cannot stomach the inconsistency of the racing form, races and jockeys. Garbage product and here I was hopeful of seeing some quality live and something I didn't have to tune into south of the boarder. I understand keeping the horses healthy but this can be done with proper track maintenance. the reason WEG chooses to keep synthetic is due to the cost of track maintenance on dirt. Goodbine WEG. I'm done.
stockmann9914 . More than 1 year ago
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
See ya chump. The product is great, the Handle is flourishing.
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
In case you didn't read the article, they got the thumbs up from the Ontario Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, and other people in the industry.
TRacingLifeMore More than 1 year ago
I don't understand what's wrong with Polytrack if they wanted to stick with synthetic.
bob costello More than 1 year ago
And so Canadian racing will remain on he periphery. Respectfully, we should have gone to dirt.
Ken Wiener More than 1 year ago
While not mentioned by Mr. Lawson, it is good to see Woodbine has chosen to stay with a synthetic surface which will reduce horse fatalities. We will miss not seeing another Breeders' Cup in Toronto, but keeping fatalities to a minimum is more important. Being an isolated circuit no doubt helped Woodbine to make this decision.
Capo Capo More than 1 year ago
The Breeders cup are pirates. I would be surprised if woodbine ever even cared to make another bid. They never did pre 2006 since the last time they hosted it.