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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Hallandale Beach, FL, July 4, 2022 – Bill Badgett, Gulfstream Park’s Executive Director of Racing Operations, is a man of his word.

Early last year, we spoke at length about the Hallandale track’s notorious timing issues, especially on turf when moving the rails to various settings to preserve the course and ultimately the safety of horses and riders.

Badgett said they were working on the installation of a new state of the art timing system, but that it will take some time to do it right.

Well, the new system has been operational for several weeks now and, with the exception of an electrical fire at the base of a timing pole that prevented the electronic timing of mile races on Friday, the results have been remarkable.

Jay Stone, who hand-times all races at Gulfstream as a backup for when timing issues arise, gave us a demonstration of a race he hand-timed Saturday which showed a differential of four one-hundredths of a second.

Can’t do much better than that.

Major tracks generally employ an afternoon clocker as a fail-safe for race times.

“We’ve gotten confirmation from Equibase [racing’s official statistical database], that our times are synching up with their process,” explained Stone. “Everyone’s been happy with the new system.”

The new timing system is known as G-Max. It’s a beam system that clocks horses from the starting gate to the finish line. By doing so, run-ups to the pole are eliminated, and with it the inaccuracy that it can often result.

The beam clocks the horses from start to finish and at all fractional points in between. With no run-ups, the starting gate is placed parallel to the appropriate pole for that distance, ensuring accuracy.

The damage from the fire has been repaired and certified electricians will complete the work on the timing mechanisms so that everything is synched correctly when racing resumes on Friday.

Satisfied with the results, the Stronach Group will install the G-Max system at Laurel Park in the very near future.

this is a live column that will be updated with commentary on closing weekend at Churchill Downs

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