Synthetic racetrack surfaces for horse racing

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A synthetic racetrack surface is a kind of surface substance that replaces grass, dirt or sand as the racing surface on a horse racing track. Manufacturers of synthetic racetrack surface materials promote the fact that synthetic tracks have drainage attributes that are better than natural surfaces. In other situations such as cold weather, these surfaces allow racing to be continued when it might otherwise be cancelled.

Synthetic tracks are also used in large horse-training centres to allow trainers to train their horses even in inclement weather conditions.


The first synthetic surface used for thoroughbred racing was Tropical Park's Tartan turf, a synthetic surface similar to Astroturf installed in 1966. Tartan turf was never a success with horsemen.[1]

The first synthetic surface to replace dirt in the United States was installed at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington, PA in 1963. This surface, called Tartan, was found to be unsatisfactory and removed and replaced with a traditional limestone surface in 1975.

Current types of synthetic surface products[edit]

Cushion Track[edit]

Installer: Equestrian Surfaces

Origin: United Kingdom

Description of surface: Sand, synthetic fibers, elastic fiber, and granulated rubber coated with wax. The footing is approximately nine inches deep, followed by a geotextile membrane.[2]

Installations: Santa Anita Park (removed), Betfair Hollywood Park (Bought for redevelopment), Courbold Park (Sunshine Coast) & Toowoomba QLD.Toowoomba has converted 1/2 the synthetic track into turf and have the all weather track as a training track, Klampenborg Racetrack (Denmark), Taby Galopp (Sweden)


Installer: Mansfield Sand Company

Origin: United Kingdom

Description of surface: Sand particles and polypropylene fibres.[3]

Installations: Southwell Racecourse[4]


Installer: Martin Collins Enterprises

Origin: United Kingdom

Description of surface: A mixture of silica sand, recycled synthetic fibers (carpet & spandex) and recycled rubber/pvc. In cold climates, the mixture may also include jelly cable (plastic insulation from copper phone wire). The entire mixture is coated with wax.

Installations: Lingfield Park, Kempton Park, Great Leighs, Dundalk, Chantilly, Marseille-Vivaux, Pau (CLOPF), Kranji, Mijas(CLOPF), Veliefendi, Turfway Park, Woodbine, Arlington Park, Del Mar Racetrack, Keeneland Race Course (until 2013) & Greyville, Durban South Africa.


Installer: Pro-Ride Racing Australia Pty Ltd

Origin: Australia

Description of surface: 6 Inches of footing (Sand, Nylon fibres, Spandex fibres coated in a Polymeric Binder) on top of a 4 inch IMC Layer (Sand & Nylon fibres) on top of a drainage system.[5]

Installations: Flemington Racecourse VIC, Santa Anita (removed), Rosehill Racecourse NSW & Warwick Farm Racecourse NSW.[6]


Installer: Michael Dickinson, Inc.

Origin: USA

Description of surface: Sand, fibre, rubber and wax makes up the top 4-7 inches of the racing surface, installed on top of either porous asphalt or a geotextile membrane.[7]

Installations: Golden Gate Fields, Presque Isle Downs and Wolverhampton Racecourse.


Origin: Australia

Description of surface: Sand and fibre coated in Wax.

Installations: Flemington VIC (removed after 12 years service) Cranbourne VIC (removed after 10 years service) and Warwick Farm NSW (removed due to bad drainage base course constructed by others).Arrowfield, NSW (active), Lyon - Villeurbanne France(active),Pornichet, France (active).Shipton Lodge NSW (active). Kildalton Park, South Australia (active)


Installer: CJSC HC Visteks

Origin: Russian Federation

Description of surface: A mixture of silica sand, recycled synthetic fibers (carpet & spandex) and chopped geotextile. The surface keeps the exploitation characteristics in a wide temperature range (from -40 up to +65 оС). The entire mixture is coated with wax.[8]

Installations: Akbuzat Hippodrome, Ufa & international sport-horses hippodrome, Kazan.


External links[edit]