Accuracy of the TurfTrax Racing Data System for determination of equine speed and position

Spence, A J and Tan, H and Wilson, A M (2008) Accuracy of the TurfTrax Racing Data System for determination of equine speed and position. EQUINE VETERINARY JOURNAL, 40 (7). pp. 680-683.

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Abstract

Reasons for performing study: The speed and position data collected by TurfTrax Racing Data Limited during UK Thoroughbred racing have potential to benefit equine science and welfare. The size (the 2006 data set alone consists of 30,932 individual horse starts across 2667 races) and nature (speed and 2D position for each horse at 4 updates per second) of the data make it a unique resource for questions in equine safety, welfare, performance, and animal locomotion. Objective: To determine the accuracy of the TurfTrax tracking system in estimating the speed and position of horses during racing. Methods: Measurements from the TurfTrax wireless tracking system were compared with those of a survey-grade global positioning system (GPS) receiver. Results: The TurfTrax system was found to give position measurements to within +/- 11 and +/- 64 cm in the fore-aft and lateral directions, respectively, averaging +/- 38 cm (interquartile range) and speed to within 0.15 m/s. Potential relevance: The data collected by the TurfTrax system are of sufficient accuracy to inform new diagnoses, training regimens and basic locomotor scientific studies. The position data can provide the precise distance, going, inclination, rate of turn and pack positioning through which each horse has raced. The speed profile can be used to examine the level of exertion, effect of training regimens and influence of racecourse features on performance. A first clinical application would be to analyse retrospectively these factors on occurrence of injury to compare with past training regimens, levels of exertion, and/or racecourse conditions.