Tapeta to replace Polytrack at Woodbine
TORONTO, March 11, 2015 - Woodbine
Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced Tapeta will be installed on
Woodbine’s one-mile main track in time for the 2016 Thoroughbred racing season.
The synthetic surface will replace
Polytrack, which has been in place since August of 2006.
Construction on the Tapeta (pronounced
Ta-PETE-a) track will begin on December 1, 2015. The four December dates, scheduled for the
first week of the month, will be moved to Thursdays in November, pending
Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) approval.
Closing day for the 133-date meet is set for November 29.
"At Woodbine, it’s in 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, Chairman of the Board, Woodbine Entertainment Group. "We went
through an exhaustive consultation exercise in our search for the new main
track. It’s clear that Tapeta is the next generation of horse racing surfaces
that we’ll be proud to unveil in April of 2016.”
WEG began investigating options to
replace its main track in mid-2014. A dialogue with industry stakeholders was opened
and opinions on the direction for the surface, dirt or synthetic, were sought.
“A surface that will endure racing
and training through hot and cold climate extremes for more than eight months a
year is critical for our horsepeople,” said Lawson. “We also considered racing fans
and horseplayers through this process. Field size, the number of quality races and
wagering on Woodbine’s thoroughbred racing product has grown appreciably in the
synthetic track era. We see those metrics continuing to improve with the
installation of Tapeta.”
Sue Leslie, President of the
Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) acknowledged the
efforts of WEG to be thorough and sincere in its consultative process.
“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 and their
The current Polytrack surface will
remain in use throughout the 2015 season.
Two stakes races, the $125,000
Kingarvie Stakes and the Grade 3, $150,000 Valedictory Stakes, originally
scheduled for December 5 and December 6, respectively, will be moved up a week
to November 28 and November 29.
Thoroughbred Main Track Synthetic/Dirt Decision Criteria and Conversion Options
Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) announced Wednesday that Tapeta will be installed on Woodbine’s one-mile main track in time for the 2016 Thoroughbred racing season.
The synthetic surface will replace Polytrack, which has been in place since August, 2006.
WEG began investigating options to replace its main track in mid-2014. A dialogue with industry stakeholders was opened and opinions on the direction for the surface, dirt or synthetic, were sought.
Racing fans, horsepeople, handicappers and other interested observers can now review WEG’s detailed dirt versus synthetic decision analysis.
A Power Point deck presented to the WEG Board of Directors is offered here.
“We equally considered our conventional dirt and modern synthetic options for the new main track cushion,” said Steve Koch, WEG’s Vice-President of Racing. “WEG is proud to share this business case with the industry in the interest of transparency and understanding the final decision in favour of Tapeta.”