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Synthetic Racing Surfaces and their Impact on North American Racing and Breeding. Isabel Mathew Darley Flying Start. Synthetic Surfaces What are they?. Establishment. 1987 Installation of first Polytrack training facility on Richard Hannon’s gallop in Wiltshire

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Synthetic Racing Surfaces and their Impact on North American Racing and Breeding

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Synthetic racing surfaces and their impact on north american racing and breeding l.jpg

Synthetic Racing Surfaces and their Impact on North American Racing and Breeding

Isabel Mathew

Darley Flying Start


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Synthetic Surfaces What are they?


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Establishment

  • 1987 Installation of first Polytrack training facility on Richard Hannon’s gallop in Wiltshire

  • 1988 Remington Park installs Equitrack

  • 2004 Keeneland opens first U.S. training track with new Polytrack surface

  • 2005 Turfway Park becomes first racetrack in N.A. to install Polytrack


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Latest installations of synthetic surfaces (2006)

  • Keeneland, Woodbine installs Polytrack on racecourse

  • Synthetic surfaces mandatory for most California racetracks by January 1st 2008

  • Hollywood Park announces installation of Cushion Track (Equestrian Surfaces) after termination of its spring-summer meet

  • Fair Hill Training Center is to install Tapeta on training surface

  • Goffs announces first Breeze-Up Sale on Kempton Polytrack


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Impact on Racing

  • Safety for horses and jockeys

    • Zero catastrophic breakdowns- average for the previous three years was six

  • At Turfway’s Fall Meet, DNF’s reduced by 50%

    • Only 3 horses who DNF were actually injured

    • No breakdowns resulting in jockey spills

  • Lower insurance premiums for jockeys as less risk of injury?

  • Less maintenance needed

  • No cancellation of fixtures due racetrack surface


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Impact on Racing II

  • Increased field sizes and number of races per horse which led to a higher betting turnover up 37.7%

  • Shoes- Keeneland and Turfway considering restricting the use of turn downs on the Polytrack and changing their rules to Queens Plates only

  • Top trainers using synthetic surfaces for preparation races and training horses

  • Continuity of racing surfaces between Europe and North America, Canada and Australia


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Potential Disadvantages

  • Differences between synthetic racing surfaces

    • continuity and thickness

  • Weather

    • especially hot temperatures

  • Some horses will not like the surface

  • Cost


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Effect of synthetic surfaces in Breeding(from Turfway, September 2005-April 2006)

  • 407 different stallions sired winners, 36 with 5 or more.

  • Average winning Beyer figure of 64.5 for all 1,138 races

    • suggesting quality of races.

  • 25/45 active sire lines had 10+ winners

  • Highest winning average Beyer was the Gone West line (68.79) with 38 winners.


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Top Five Average winning Beyer Sire Lines Turfway Park, September 2005-April 2006


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Effect of synthetic surfaces in Breeding(from Turfway, September 2005-April 2006)

  • The 16 Northern Dancer lines account for 77% of the 80+ winners, and 91% of the 90+ winners

  • 81 Sires from the ‘Mr Prospector’ line had winners at Turfway

    • 7 averaged 69+

  • Three sires from the Gone West branch of Mr Prospector also averaged 69+

    • Grand Slam, Mr Greeley and Elusive Quality

  • Northern Dancer line stallions were next

    • Tale of the Cat, Storm Boot, Boundary and Military averaging 69+


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The Future

  • Will we ever see the Triple Crown races run on a synthetic surface?

  • The demise of the true ‘All American’ dirt sire?

  • Importation of European Sires, once again?

  • Amalgamation of European turf and American dirt pedigrees to create the perfect ‘synthetic surface’ runner?

  • A true champion on synthetic surfaces across the world?


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THANK YOU

imathew@darleyflyingstart.com


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