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Arlington Park

Arlington Park news release

Contact: David Zenner


Final Phase of $11 Million Project Underway

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (March 29, 2007) – The final phase of Arlington Park’s $11 million project to replace the track’s traditional dirt surface with a state-of-the-art synthetic surface began today at 12:30 p.m. with the first installment of the Polytrack surface being placed on Arlington’s mile and an eighth main track.

Polytrack Layers DiagramThe Polytrack surface is comprised of sand, synthetic fibers and recycled rubber that are combined and coated with a microcrystalline wax, which ensures that water flows vertically through it to the specially designed sub-surface drainage system to provide a safer, more consistent racing surface.

Following the December 2006 announcement that Arlington would become the first racetrack in the Midwest to install a synthetic racing surface, the project began with the removal of 14,000 tons of dirt that comprised the cushion and surface pad of the old surface.

Once the surface and pad were removed, approximately 11,000 tons of the track’s limestone base was removed and then the sub-base of the track was graded.

The next step in the process included trenching and the installation of more than four miles of irrigation pipe and nine miles of perforated drainage pipe which is covered by 4,000 tons of four- inch deep graded drainage stone. The top layer of the base, 711,000 square feet of two-inch deep porous asphalt, was then applied to cover the drainage stone.

The drainage system is designed to move water vertically through the Polytrack surface, porous asphalt and clean drainage stone directly into the perforated drainage pipes.

With the base and drainage system installation complete, the installment of 20,500 tons of Polytrack material is expected to continue for approximately two weeks. Arlington Park’s main track will open for training on Wednesday, April 25, as the horses prepare for the track’s opening day of its 94-day season on Friday, May 4.

Arlington Park Polytrack Surface Installation Facts and Figures

  • Removed 14,000 tons of dirt (cushion and pad) – 700 semi truckloads
  • Removed 11,000 tons of limestone base – 550 semi truckloads
  • Added 4,000 tons of graded stone to fill trenches – 200 semi truckloads
  • Added 20,000 tons of graded stone for base – 1,000 semi truckloads
  • Installed 711,000 square feet of porous asphalt
  • Installed more than 9 miles of drain pipe
  • Installed more than 4 miles of irrigation pipe
  • Installed 4 miles of conduits
  • Manufacture and install 20,500 tons of Polytrack surface – 1,025 semis loads

Fun Facts

  • There is enough Polytrack material to fill all of the indoor space (6 floors) of the Arlington Park grandstand – 9 inches deep.
  • The amount of Polytrack that will be installed on the Arlington Park main track would be enough to cover the entire football field at Soldier Field as well as both of the baseball fields at Wrigley and U.S. Cellular fields 9 inches deep simultaneously.
  • The key to the system is the drainage.
  • It is designed to move water vertically through the Polytrack surface, porous asphalt and clean drainage stone directly into the perforated drainage pipes 15 inches below the surface.

Chronological Steps of Polytrack Base and Surface Installation

  • Soil and material engineer inspection
  • Removed cushion, pad, and base
  • Graded the sub-base of the track
  • Trenched & installed fabric, perforated drainage pipe w/ sock and solid drainage pipe
  • Install 4 inches of graded drainage stone
  • Install 2 inches of porous asphalt
  • Install 7 inches of Polytrack surface

Arlington Park – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 94-day meet in 2007 from Friday, May 4 through Sunday, Sept. 16. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates nine off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Rockford, Trackside Waukegan, Fat Sam’s Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in Lockport, Lucky’s featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin, Nicolino’s featuring Trackside OTB in McHenry and The Inferno featuring Trackside OTB in South Beloit. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at





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