GPS tracking of racing horses on the horizon

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Keeneland hosted the seventh Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, in Kentucky on June 28.

A US company is working with a leading racetrack to collect thoroughbred workout data using GPS technology.

Equibase Company has GPS systems at Woodbine Racetrack, Golden Gate Fields, Laurel Park, and Pimlico, and is the official timer at those tracks.

It brings technology a step closer to using GPS for racing include timing and the ability to provide comprehensive data for each runner during the running of a race, which can be used to drive on-screen graphics as well as positions and margins for charts.

Equibase worked in partnership with Keeneland in Lexington at the request of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. Results of the six-week study demonstrated the power of being able to track multiple workouts simultaneously. However, further testing is needed with respect to the logistics of using this technology for workouts.

Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said the aim was to see if the timing itself was a significant improvement over the stopwatch method, and if additional data could be collected related to each workout. “Overall, we were pleased with the findings and look forward to additional progress being made,” he said.

In addition to the increased ability to handle large numbers of horses on the track simultaneously, using GPS to collect workouts would make significantly more data available to the public and trainers, including times for any portion of the work, stride length, and times for the run-up and gallop-out segments of the work.

Equibase is to continue additional workout testing at Golden Gate Fields and will expand the number of installations at tracks in 2019.

Equibase Company is a partnership between subsidiaries of The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America and serves as the Thoroughbred industry’s official database.

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