Track surface

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The track surface of a horse racing track refers to the material of which the track is made. There are three types of track surfaces used in modern horse racing.[1] These are:

  • Turf, the most common track surface in Europe
  • Dirt, the most common track surface in the US
  • Artificial or Synthetic, the collective term for a number of proprietary man-made surfaces in use at a number of locations around the world.

The style of racing differs between surfaces, with dirt races tending to be faster than those on turf or artificial surfaces.[2] Anecdotally, dirt racing is the more reliable, and thus more popular, medium for betting purposes.[1] Weather conditions affect the speed of the different surfaces too, and grading systems have been developed to indicate the track condition (known as the "going" in the UK and Ireland).

There is some evidence to suggest that synthetic surfaces are safest in terms of equine welfare.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lesovoy, Amber (16 March 2009). "Why is dirt the best track surface for horse racing?". SportingLife:360. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Allin, Jane (November 2011). "Horse Racing Ground Matters: Part 3". Horsefund. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  3. ^ West, Christy (23 March 2009). "Synthetic surfaces vs dirt and turf". The Bloodhorse. Retrieved 5 May 2014.