Keeneland will switch main track to dirt surface for fall meet

Horses break from the gate on Keeneland's main track.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Keeneland has announced that it will switch its main track surface from synthetic Polytrack material to dirt in time for the fall meet.

Keeneland began using the wax-coated mixture of sand, fiber and recycled rubber in 2006 and has touted the surface’s safety record. But track president Bill Thomason said Wednesday in a release that "the landscape has changed" and is making the change to keep pace with owners’ and trainers’ preferences for dirt tracks.

Thomason added that the move will also help Keeneland compete to attract Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup contenders along with hosting major racing events. Construction that includes a new drainage system will begin May 19 with completion expected by Aug. 15. The fall meet opens Oct. 3.

Keeneland’s spring meet opens on Friday.

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