Horse racing is the type of sport that maintains a lot of its traditions. Just look at the UK, where tweed jackets and fascinator hats are all the rage at meetings such as the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National. The US industry is similar, as the courses and infrastructure date back to the earliest official races.
However, sports can’t fight off the era of technology for long. Horse racing has already succumbed to its fate, even if its foundations are recognizable. Will this be the case for the foreseeable future? The following suggests the answer is no. Still, the evolutions won’t be unhealthy.
An area where everyone will be happy to see technology permeate the sport is animal welfare. The debate surrounding horse racing will wage on for decades, regardless of the generation. Of course, whether you agree or disagree morally, there isn’t an argument against protecting the horses.
In America, the use of the latest software is already having a significant impact in several states, especially California. In Cali, motion detection and facial recognition equipment track the lifestyle and exercise regimens of the runners, collating data that indicates whether they need more water or recovery time.
The California Horse Racing Board doesn’t hand out licenses to trainers and yards that don’t follow the rules, making it almost compulsory within the state’s boundaries. Such measures protect the jockeys, too, so everyone wins.
Gambling and horse racing are the perfect combination. Therefore, as long as the sport exists, so will the people who want to place wagers. Unsurprisingly, technology will affect the betting sector as much as horse racing itself. That’s already visible via the impacts of the last decade.
For example, the introduction of mobile technology ensures punters can place bets on their favorite meetings at the click of a button. Plus, live streaming software means that horse racing odds are delivered from tracks around the world, including the UK and France where the likes of Ascot and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe are unmissable even across the pond. And the partnership between courses and betting operators makes the process smooth. For instance, you can make withdrawals and deposits while at the tracks.
Virtual reality is the next chain in the link, particularly as Churchill Downs broadcast two days of races in live VR in 2018. The uptake may be slower than expected, yet it won’t be long before races in Melbourne, Japan, and Ireland all leverage VR tech.
All processes have kinks that need untangling. Although many of them will take years to figure out, the art of process development is helping to make horse racing smoother. A prime example is using a 3D printer to manufacture a hoof for a horse, which has been successfully recreated.
Now, it will take a while for the technology to become affordable to use throughout the sector, but the ramifications are exciting. After all, 3D printers cost less than $500 in some instances, so the market is going in the right direction.
Soon, vets may leave their stethoscopes at home and carry a portable printer around with them, where animals like horses are concerned at least.
It’s impossible to predict what will happen. However, the popularity of the racing world means we’ll more than likely see it in horse racing before it transfers to other industries.