The difference between the synthetic track in Deauville and Maisons-Laffitte has been explained by my friends at Jour de Galop, a daily Internet newsletter that is the only journalism worth reading on the French racing scene. The track in Deauville was made by a company called Viscoride and installed in 2002. It is supposed to be usable down to minus 7 degrees Celcius, but that has turned out not to be the case. It is mostly sand, blended with fiberglass fibers and a wax glue. In Maisons-Laffitte, we have an old version of Polytrack, composed of sand, fiberglass and chopped up rubber from electrical cabling all bound together with a wax sealant. The Polytrack sand is whiter and flufflier than the heavy yellow stuff in Deauville. It is supposed to be usable down to minus 10 Celcius, and that seems to be true, because we’re still using it and Deauville had to close up shop.
Deauville has been harrowing in a salt mixture for three days, and they now say the track is fine and there will be racing today. I will be watching with interest, because I still have two entries for Saturday. Unfortunately, my horses have been stuck in their boxes for the past two days, so if there is racing, I’m not sure we can run. We are going to try to get the two horses with entries out today, to do what and how I’m not sure.
Somebody responding to a post on the Paulick Report sneared at Polytrack, saying it actually stunk; this person was clearly pissed off that his precious dirt track was churned up for something safer for the horses. Can’t have that – it interferes with “speed ratings,” timed workouts and all the other numbers that American punters hold dear. Well, as a trainer, I can tell you that I’m a fan of Polytrack, and I hope that when Deauville has to install a new surface (which is inevitable, since they’ve added salt to the track they have), they go with Polytrack. It’s been riding great in Maisons-Laffitte. (Now if only I can find a way to get my horses over to it….)