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From Equine Thermography to Remote Sensors: Tech Behind Horseracing

Horseracing is one of the world’s oldest pastimes. From the chariot races of yore to the Kentucky Derby, humans and horses have worked together to entertain fans with amazing feats of strength and teamwork.

Today, it’s estimated that $116 billion is bet on horseraces worldwide every year. While those billions aren’t chump change, there’s no denying the fact that horseracing is slowly losing touch with its under-40 fanbase.

While technology like thermal imaging protects a racehorse’s health by predicting injury, remote sensors could modernize how fans wager on horseraces. Already, there are free bets offered by leading sportsbooks for a wide range of horseraces, and many fans are hoping the introduction of remote sensors will revolutionize what these bets look like.

Nowadays, there are even fully digitized forays into horseracing, in which fans of the sport can purchase a digital horse and begin a legacy of their own. And no need to worry about authenticity—even the studbooks use blockchain in this futuristic world of horseracing.

Thermography

Equine thermography, as the science is known, is a form of data acquisition that helps alert owners and jockeys that a horse may be sick or injured. Thermal imaging captures infrared frequencies in an image so a veterinary professional can assess a horse’s internal health quickly, often from a remote location.

By utilizing equine thermography, caretakers can determine if a horse is overheating, which may cause it to die on the racetrack. However, handlers are also able to diagnose problems with a horse’s muscles, bones, or nerves—often before a horse has begun to show symptoms of illness.

Remote sensors

Major sports leagues from the PGA Tour to the NHL are utilizing remote sensors to gather data from athletes to monitor their health, determine the strength of play, and predict odds of winning.

The PGA Tour is set to begin live betting that will allow fans to guess how fast a golf ball is traveling, or even how fast a player can swing the club. Known as ‘wearable tech’, these tiny sensors translate to hard data points that are incredibly useful for a variety of reasons.

In the realm of horseracing, remote sensors are already being used to facilitate the relationship between jockey and horse. Like equine thermography, remote sensors are largely used to monitor horses to make sure they’re healthy and comfortable.

While sensors are currently used for health-related purposes, they may soon be changing the way fans bet on horseraces. Sensors could open up the realm of live betting, during which a bettor could wager on how fast they think a horse will run or how high a horse will jump.

Many hope revitalizing the type of bets available will stimulate more to engage with the sport on a regular basis.

Blockchain Video Games 

Given the astronomical costs associated with buying, raising, and training a champion racehorse, the sport is often associated with a luxury lifestyle—and for good reason. With only the guarantee of their parentage, some yearlings will be bought for up to $2 million. For this reason, studbooks are sacred texts in the world of horseracing.

However, a new startup is looking to fully digitize the equestrian world. ZED is a blockchain-based videogame that utilizes cryptocurrency (Ethereum) to host blockchain-based races between users.

Horses, although fake, will be part of a highly nuanced digital world in which they’ll form a “genuine emotional life with owners and bettors”, according to (ZED partner) Unikrn CEO, Rahul Sood.

Sood and his team are hoping to fully revolutionize the sport and turn horseracing into a virtual venture. Users will be able to trade, own, breed, and race their own horses, which is usually reserved for those with deep pockets in the real world.

By utilizing blockchain, real-money betting is totally secure, and a virtual horse’s data is fully transferrable to every match and interaction it has within the game. Already, ZED has a $20,000 prize pool for its inaugural race, which is set to debut this year.

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