Keeneland debuts new dirt track

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Keeneland's new dirt track is open and ready for training.

Just over three months after beginning a switch from synthetic Polytrack to dirt on its 1 1/16-mile main track, Keeneland debuted the surface Thursday morning. The conversion included installing a new drainage system and the facility will use GPS to monitor surface consistency for horse and rider safety.

Construction workers began removing 16,000 tons of Polytrack in mid-May to replace it with a 26,000-ton base layer of sand and a 19,000-ton mix of sand, silt and clay.

Track president and CEO Bill Thomason said in a release that "we are proud of the renovation and excited to welcome owners and trainers back to Keeneland."

Keeneland's fall meet runs Oct. 3-25 and will host next year's Breeders' Cup stakes races.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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