Automated Collection of Race Data Field-Tested

Equibase is developing technology that could make a long-talked-about dream a reality: the automated collection of race data.

Alan Marzelli, executive vice president of The Jockey Club, said Aug. 18 that the technology has developed enough to believe that "automated tracking" of timing, placings, and distances is not so far off in the future.

Initial tests were conducted at Keeneland in July.

"We are in the early stages of testing this technology, so we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves," Marzelli said. "But we think that we may be close to finding an answer. If so, this new technology will not only provide entirely new ways for handicappers to analyze races, but could potentially provide broadcast enhancements and new media applications that will help make televised racing more compelling and open up additional distribution channels for the sport.

"This is not a fantasy," Marzelli said.

The board of Equibase, which is owned The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, authorized management to conduct more field tests later this year.