Keeneland uses asphalt in horse racing track renovation

Keeneland Racetrack in Lexington, Kentucky, is the home of the Grade 1 Toyota Bluegrass Stakes, which has included some of thoroughbred racing’s greatest horses and sent 11 winners on to the Kentucky Derby. Keeneland is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and has just completed a huge effort to renovate its facilities.

A major part of the renovation was the replacement of its traditional dirt track with Polytrack, a safer and more consistent surface for the horses. Keeneland describes the installation of Polytrack as a significant step forward in its goal to be one of the world’s safest and most beautiful racetracks.

Polytrack is a patented system that uses a specially designed top layer with a sophisticated drainage structure. The racing surface consists of a 10-inch layer of a mixture of silica sand, fibers and recycled rubber materials that provide a cushion for the horses and riders. The mixture is covered with a wax coating that allows water to flow freely through the top layer to the drainage system below.

The drainage system includes a layer of porous hot mix asphalt (HMA) and a layer of free-draining large aggregate. The collected water is carried away from the track structure through a series of drain pipes.

In addition to its consistency, Polytrack provides the track with an all weather racing surface. Rain drains quickly through the structure and away from the surface. The HMA layer provides drainage, strength and stability to the surface and provides a solid platform on which to place the Polytrack.

With the help of HMA and new racetrack surface technology, Keeneland Racetrack will lead the way in horse racing safety.