How Photo Finish Technology Improved Horse Racing Results

The advancements in technology mean that bettors don’t need to wait an extended period of time to find out how their selection has performed. The most important piece of technology that has assisted this is the photo finish tech.

Before the advancement was made, the officials would need to carefully look at pictures that were of lesser quality, which meant that a number of decisions were questionable. But, how has the advanced quality of photo finishes improved the sport of horse racing?

How Important Is Accuracy?

It can’t be underplayed how important accuracy is in horse racing, as a mixed calculation when it comes to the result of a race could mean that winning connections may be lost out on a healthy return from the race.

However, it is very important for both the competitors and the betting markets, as the Saratoga betting guide by can prove.

Technology has been accepted in sports, which is the opposite of sports such as football, where even decisions made with the help of VAR are questioned by fans.

However, for the most part, racing fans, bettors, and owners all understand that technology has made horse racing fairer, especially when it comes to determining the results of races.

The accuracy is needed in the sport, given that huge money hinges on the winners from the races throughout the year, which means a wrong call could lead to legal action being taken against racing’s governing bodies.

Early Beginnings of Photo Finishes

Despite horse racing being around for generations, the idea of photo finishes wasn’t introduced until the 1870s, as Eadweard Muybridge began to use technology to capture animals in motion.

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Before the advancement was made, officials were to decide which horse crossed the line first, which led to a number of dead-heat finishes, as well as controversial decisions.

Due to the nature of horse racing, including the technology was almost a no-brainer, as it would take an awful lot of pressure off the officials when it came to making decisions in the biggest races of the season.

Muybridge was behind the inaugural idea of the photo finish, as he would capture a picture on the line and then hand the image to the officials to make their official decision. The idea was believed to have a significant impact on the number of dead heats that were called around that time.

First Use of Photo Finish

Despite the number of dead heats in racing before the adoption of photo finishes, it was over three years before the technology was used for the first time to determine the winner of a race.

It also didn’t happen in the United Kingdom, as it was a race taking place in New Jersey that used photo finish technology to help find the winner.

The picture was taken by Ernest Marks, and it was a historic occasion that many would take for granted in this modern era where technology is used readily in every major course across the globe.

Further Technological Advancements

The betting and racing industries continued to grow over the next 100 years or so, which meant that the sport needed to evolve and ensure that the right result was called every time.

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The addition of the strip camera, founded and developed by Lorenzo del Riccio, was a game changer in the sport. This type of camera revolutionized how pictures were taken on the line and also eliminated the risk of blurry photos meaning that an informed decision couldn’t be made.

The pictures showed the horses almost standing still as they crossed the line, which made it easier than ever for officials to make their final decision. However, even with all the technology in the world, dead heats can still occur, but the unpredictability is just one of the reasons why the sport attracts millions of fans around the world.