The new Woodbine Entertainment animated horse racing simulation is ready for operation at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto at the Ricoh Woodbine Mile this weekend. Fans act as a jockey during the major stakes race simulator developed by Catalyst VR out of Australia and designed as a racing specific activation that brings Canadians closer to racing than ever before at the largest race track in Canada. The Sports Techie community blog chatted with Daniel Caufield, Head of Partnerships at Woodbine Entertainment, about the Turf Cup Challenge, the fan engagement experience and data capture opportunities this platform offers. To compliment horse racing coalition, the Ontario Lottery & Gaming (OLG) and Pepsi have signed on as presenting sponsors of Turf Cup simulator. Riders are rewarded with instant prizes as well as entry into a contest where times are tracked on the leaderboard and the fastest rider wins $1,000. Horse racing is facing a crossroads making sports tech an important component to the fan experience ensuring their future as a business.
Professionals Enjoy Turf Cup
“This is an immersive and engaging experience for fans, delivering the true exhilaration and excitement of horse racing,” said Caufield.
Professional jockeys Jason Portuondo, Eurico Rosa Da Silva and Rafael Hernandez took part in a Turf Cup sim horse racing competition on the Woodbine turf in a Championship race to the finish line. It takes anywhere from 1 minute to 80 seconds to finish. Hernandez won the fun race because of his superior riding technique in a time of 1:09.
Caufield explained how the system has a gyro detector inside of it that syncs with a mobile device measuring the animated horse’s speed by calculating who moves the horse fastest through movement of the saddle reins. Riders need to move the horse between the green, orange and red bars with the red bar representing the optimized zone. Daniel said, “It is best to be constant with an up and down horse rein cadence rather than a thrashing type of motion,” which is exactly what Hernandez did to become the champion.
The Turf Cup leaderboard has already changed since the soft testing was finished over the past couple weeks to get ready for this weekend’s Woodbine races. Hernandez, Portuondo and Rosa Da Silva had the 2nd, 3rd and 4th best times two weeks ago. I asked Daniel what his best sim time was and he laughed and said his and a fellow employee’s times used to be in the top ten during testing but were bumped off to his ever so sight dismay as a competitor and relief since he is ineligible to participate anyway.
The sim has regular appearances scheduled every Saturday and Sunday from 12-5 pm by Gate IO, with additional fan activation opportunities at other special races and community events including the Breeders Crown at Mohawk Raceway and Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer.
- SEPTEMBER 11, 2019 – WOODBINE, TRACKSIDE CLUBHOUSE Ricoh Woodbine Mile Draw
- SEPTEMBER 14, 2019 – WOODBINE, WALKING RING Ricoh Woodbine Mile
- SEPTEMBER 15, 2019 – WOODBINE, WALKING RING Summer Stakes Gr. I
- SEPTEMBER 20, 2019 – WOODBINE MOHAWK PARK, APRON Metro Pacing
- SEPTEMBER 27, 2019 – WOODBINE, PARKING LOT Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer
- SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 – WOODBINE, WALKING RING Durham Cup Gr. III
- SEPTEMBER 29, 2019 – WOODBINE, WALKING RING Classy ‘N Smart Stake
- OCTOBER, 2019 stay tuned for more dates…
Each Turf Cup rider will have a video sent to them via e-mail of the last ten seconds of their simulated race sharable through a single click to Facebook and Instagram social media platforms. “The opt-in option is an opportunity to use the data for later use,” said Caufield.
The top ten times will be entered into a later sim race towards the end of October where the winner gets the $1,000 grand prize. More pro jockeys and celebrity athletes will participate in this final race. Pepsi will offer samples and activate social initiates while OLG is on board as a supporter of the leaderboard.
Caufield added, “Nothing is more dramatic than the final push to the finish line and our Turf Cup experience give fans an incredible heart pumping ride that brings them closer to the action than ever before.”
For more information, visit Woodbine.com.
Sports Techie, Turf Cup starts tomorrow where horse racing sim comes to life. Yet, the sport in general is far from its heyday resulting in innovative sports tech initiatives needed to help revive the cherished sport.
I live in the state of Georgia which is sports crazy but also in the conservative bible belt meaning anything to do with gambling is frowned upon by a shrinking populous. Georgia is pushing forward trying to get three racetracks opened to create more jobs.
I let Caufield know I was vacationing in Boise and the fact that Les Bois Park racetrack is now shut down after Prop 1 was shot down ending their long run in Idaho.
I enjoy horse racing when it is done with the highest safety regards for the horses and jockeys alike.
Sims may be the future of the sport across North America if it can’t turn the corner back to better times.
Woodbine Entertainment, may the sim be with you.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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