Technology in Racing

Horse Racing is a sport that does not immediately make one think of technology but as you will see below, it has the potential to be a genuine innovator in sports education and entertainment.

One of the most exciting developments in the last few years has been the Internet and the horse racing industry has grasped the opportunity with both hands and utilizes e-commerce and database driven back end processes better than almost any other industry.

The Internet has grown up a lot and it is now possible to deliver real time 3D representations of actual races over a broadband connection. This requires transponders being placed on each horse so that multiple readings per second of horse positions can be collected dynamically.

This is NOW technology and a company in England called Turf Trax is doing this every day for UK racing. No doubt there are other companies that possess this radio triangulation technology also. CSIRO in Australia springs to mind.

The data collected using this method is invaluable as an education tool for new and seasoned punters alike. Sectional times, speed bursts, historical comparisons and much more can be displayed, explained and dissected either on TV or online.

Companies like Australia's Virtual Spectator posses the skills and technologies to take this positional data and turn it into 3D animations that are completely controlled by the viewer. The mix of tracking and display technologies is truly amazing.

Another way in which computers can be used to both educate and entertain is through the use of computerized track bias simulators. These simulators take 3D terrain data from the actual track and predict the changing track bias as the race day progresses. The systems have the ability to graphically show ideal racing lines and even predict with some accuracy the eventual winner. This is clearly a great tool for television and it is through these technologies that a younger audience can be attracted to the sport of kings.

As far as entertainment is concerned, a great use of the myriad computer based tipping systems in the market place is to have a computer versus the expert segment during a racing telecast. It would be fun to see who picks the most winners and it is something that could be run year long with a tally being kept along the way.

With positional information for all horses, you could have a "what-if" analysis of an upcoming race. Put all of the horses that are in the race together and run a "Virtual" race based on previous form prior to the real thing. What a hoot for the Melbourne Cup.

The upshot of all of this is that by utilizing technology, you can educate and entertain the horse race loving community and attract new people to the sport.

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