Equibase, Keeneland Encouraged With Testing of Tracking System

Edited from a Keeneland release
Officials of Equibase and Keeneland Race Course were encouraged with the results of an automated tracking system that was tested during the first two weeks of the fall meeting.

After reviewing preliminary information collected by TurfTrax, a British data collection company, both Phil O'Hara, president of Equibase, and Nick Nicholson, president of Keeneland, said they look forward to the day when more information will be available to the wagering public.

"We believe it's Keeneland's responsibility to cooperate with our partners such as Equibase to test technology that ultimately will provide racing's customers with more complete, more precise information," said Nicholson, noting that the equipment and technology tested at Keeneland was "unobtrusive" and "did not inconvenience the racetrack or horsemen."

Using a radio-frequency transmitter placed in a horse's saddle towel and multiple antennas around the track, the TurfTrax system is able to compute a variety of information including each horse's speed at different points on the track and how far a horse actually travels in a race.

"Equibase is determined to find a system that is not only capable of accurately capturing the positional data but also is economically feasible for industry deployment," said O'Hara. "This recent testing certainly moved us a step closer to achieving those goals. We will continue to study automated tracking and we will continue to keep the industry informed as we do."

The TurfTrax system was delivered on Oct. 8, assembled and installed within four days. Races were tracked on four different dates before an actual demonstration took place on Oct. 22.

"We are excited about the ground-breaking potential of the TurfTrax Speed and Positioning System for U.S. horseracing and welcomed the opportunity to operate the System at Keeneland," said Tim Ricketts, group managing director of Turftrax.

"We appreciated the support of all involved in making it go so smoothly and will now focus on the detailed post-race analysis of the data collected with Equibase."

Data sets from the demonstration were received after the races were tracked on Oct. 22 and analysis will take place over the next few weeks, according to Equibase officials.

The positional data will be reviewed for its entirety and accuracy using a variety of factors such as continuous data points and verifying proximity of runners versus actual race footage and digital still photos.

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