Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Keeneland Race Course announced Thursday that its new dirt main track has been installed and open for training. The historic track replaced the synthetic surface during the summer in time for the Fall Meet, beginning Oct. 3.
"This dirt track represents more than a year of study and testing with regard to materials, water drainage and track maintenance, but our job is not done," Keeneland Vice President of Racing W.B. Rogers Beasley said. "We want to be part of the national dialogue about track maintenance and safety. The data we retrieve from our ongoing research will be an opportunity to move the industry forward."
The new 1 1/16-mile surface is composed of sand, silt and clay native to Kentucky. It also has a drainage system, unlike any other in North America, to remove water from the track.
"The new materials and advanced technology available to monitor consistency and moisture content in the racing surface have enabled us to build a world- class dirt track that will be as safe as possible for horse and rider," Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said. "We are proud of the renovation and excited to welcome owners and trainers back to Keeneland."
A major purpose of the removal of the synthetic racing surface and installation of a dirt track was for Keeneland to host the Breeders' Cup World Championships, which it had never done. The track was rewarded with next year's Breeders' Cup.