By George Deedes, TPD Content Director
February saw TPD go live at the King Abdulaziz racetrack in Saudi Arabia, timing the world’s richest horse race, the $20,000,000 Saudi Cup no less. A month later and we had added again to our international portfolio.
In May 2021, CEO Will Duff Gordon signed TPD up to a partnership with El Turf, Latin America’s leading horse racing media supplier – a cross between the Racing Post in the UK and Equibase in North America if you like – with a shared vision of introducing the TPD/Gmax tracking technology across the continent. Like us, El Turf are keen to modernise the sport of horseracing, to make it relevant and exciting to a new generation of fans. In late February 2022, El Turf announced that our first track would be Hipodromo Chile in the heart of Santiago, Chile.
The first fixture was to take place on the first weekend of April. The feature race of the weekend, the Gran Premio Latinoamericano. First run in 1981, the Gran Premio Latinoamericano (Latin for American Grand Prix) is South America’s most significant race. It is competed by thoroughbreds 3 years of age or older, who are appointed by the respective racetracks, and is generally held over 2000 meters.
The challenge for TPD’s implementation on the other side of the globe was significant enough. The added strain of having no “boots on the ground” meant we relied heavily on the brilliant EL Turf team of, Gonzalo, Emanuel and Juan Carlos to carry out the installation following our instructions remotely. Thank goodness for WhatsApp and Juan Carlos’ translation skills…
The one “dress rehearsal” fixture went extremely well but presented new operational challenges. The average fixture at Hipodromo Chile is made up of 21 races, only 25 minutes apart and each containing, on average, 15 runners. Over 300 horses per fixture each carrying two trackers is a lot of work for those managing the number cloths as well as a lot of horses to assign on the Gmax race software. Emanuel’s team of operators managed to get everything right from race 1. Despite a few hiccups, everything worked, partly thanks to their hard work but also thanks to the beautiful simplicity of the Gmax system.
When the big race day arrived everything went to plan. The on-course operators did as they had practiced, the tracking worked, and the onscreen graphics as provided by Gmax looked great and were well received by those at the track. As was the result of the Gran Premio! Locally trained favourite, O’Connor, beat the best of South America running out an easy winner in a time of 2.03.63.
Next year’s Gran Premio Latinamericano is due to be run at San Isidro in Argentina. Who knows? Perhaps that’s next.