The Friday Show Presented By Woodbine: Talking Tapeta With Jim Lawson - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

The Friday Show Presented By Woodbine: Talking Tapeta With Jim Lawson

Tapeta Footings synthetic racing surface

Jim Lawson, CEO of Woodbine Entertainment, recommended to the company's board of directors in 2015 that the Toronto racetrack's main Polytrack surface be replaced with another all-weather synthetic material, Tapeta Footings. Eight years later, he is confident it was the right call.

Woodbine is one of the safest racetracks in North America, with 0.42 racing fatalities per 1,000 starts on the Tapeta surface in 2022, according to data from The Jockey Club's Equine Injury Database.  That compares to an overall 2022 average of 1.25 fatalities per 1,000 starts on all racing surfaces in North America, and a 1.44 per 1,000 fatality rate on dirt tracks.

So far in 2023, Woodbine has seen two fatal injuries from roughly 4,500 starts. From about 14,000 timed workouts, Lawson said, there have only been two fatalities.

Those numbers compare favorably to national averages on traditional dirt surfaces, which have come under fire recently after the high-profile fatal injuries to budding stars Maple Leaf Mel and New York Thunder in Grade 1 races at Saratoga in August.

Lawson joins Ray Paulick and bloodstock editor Joe Nevills on this week's Friday Show to discuss the experience Woodbine has had with Tapeta. It's not perfect, Lawson said, with maintenance difficulties during hot and cold weather (something that occurs during Woodbine's long April to December meet). Overall, however, Lawson believes the Tapeta surface has been better for the horses and for Woodbine's bottom line.

Watch this week's episode of The Friday Show below:

Paulick Report Icon

Receive daily headlines, breaking news alerts, promotions, and much more!

Become An Insider

Support our journalism and access bonus content on our Patreon stream

Learn More