Churchill Downs Incorporated announced plans to invest $5.6 million to replace the existing track at Turfway Park with a new Tapeta synthetic track, one of the world's leading surfaces for racing and training, through an agreement with Tapeta Footings, Inc. The removal of Turfway's existing Polytrack and installation of the new Tapeta synthetic track will take place immediately following the close of Turfway's Winter/Spring Meet on March 28 and is expected to be ready for the 2020 Holiday Meet beginning on Dec. 2.
CDI owns and operates three of the four synthetic tracks in the United States while Turfway will become only the third track in America to use the state-of-the-art Tapeta synthetic surface, joining CDI-owned Presque Isle Downs in Pennsylvania. Tapeta is also in place at Golden Gate Fields in California, Woodbine in Ontario, Canada, Tapeta Park in Tasmania, and Wolverhampton and Newcastle in the United Kingdom.
CDI's other synthetic track is in Illinois at Arlington Park, which installed Polytrack in 2007, two years after Turfway Park (then owned in part by Keeneland) replaced its conventional dirt surface with Polytrack. Keeneland and two California tracks – Santa Anita and Del Mar – switched from dirt to synthetic surfaces and back to dirt
The product is specifically designed as an all-weather surface for the safety of horses and riders in Thoroughbred racing. Tapeta is comprised of a carefully selected mixture of the finest silica sand, wax and fibres that simulate the root structure of turf and has been proven to perform exceptionally well in heavy rainfall and winter weather consistent with Turfway's racing conditions.
“The Tapeta team are all delighted to have been chosen to install a Tapeta surface at Turfway Park,” said Joan Wakefield, vice president of Tapeta Footings, Inc. “We look forward to working with CDI and can only applaud them for a huge commitment in upgrading the entire facility. It is a huge boost for Northern Kentucky and comes at a welcome time for the racing industry.”
The Tapeta track installation is one component of CDI's investment that will make way for development of Turfway Park Racing & Gaming, an up to $150 million state-of-the art live and historical Thoroughbred racing facility.
“The agreement with Tapeta is the first of many exciting initiatives to come for Turfway,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack and Turfway Park. “By partnering with Tapeta to provide the safest racing conditions for Turfway's winter meets, we will be able to deliver one of the key elements supporting our goal of bringing a first-class racing product to Northern Kentucky.”
The redevelopment of Turfway is anticipated to support up to 400 direct full and part-time equivalent positions and create an estimated 800 direct construction jobs. The project will include a historical racing machine facility featuring up to 1,500 machines, a state-of-the-art clubhouse as well as food/beverage venues.
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