Friday, March 10, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 10, 2006 . . . With the success of its Polytrack installation, Turfway Park will keep its stable area and track open for training during its off seasons. The track plans to make summer stabling available beginning April 24 and continuing through the summer until the Fall Meet begins September 6.
“Making our facility available to area horsemen throughout the summer is another important benefit of our Polytrack installation. Not having to remove the surface between racemeets allows us to provide horsemen a consistent, safe training surface year round,” said Robert Elliston, Turfway Park president and CEO.
Trainers’ and riders’ confidence in Polytrack and the material’s demonstrated ability to provide a safe and consistent surface made the decision a win-win proposition. Through February, only one training day has been lost since the Polytrack surface was opened for use in August 2005. That occurred in December, when Turfway’s track crew spent what would have been training hours removing six inches of snow from the surface. The race card scheduled for that evening was held as planned.
By contrast, Turfway lost 16 days of training to weather-related causes from September 2004 through February 2005. The track also canceled all or part of 11 racing days last winter, most often because the track was rendered unsafe by freezing and thawing of the old dirt surface.
Even without the threat of winter weather, the surface offers the benefit of consistency; with its special drainage system, Polytrack is never even muddy.
More compelling, however, is the safety factor for both horses and riders. From September 2005 through last month, only three horses have suffered life-ending injuries on the track, all during races. Last year, that number was 20 over the same time period. No horses have suffered such injuries during training. With fewer such breakdowns, the safety of riders is increased as well.
The deadline to apply for stalls during the summer training session is March 15.