Archives for December 4, 2020

Best Way to Win a Horse Race? Mathematicians may have the answer

The best way to win a horse race? Mathematicians may have the answerAttention racehorse jockeys: Start fast, but save enough energy for a final kick. That’s the ideal strategy to win short-distance horse races, according to the first mathematical model to calculate how horses use up energy in races. The researchers say the approach could be used to identify customized pacing plans that, in theory, would optimize individual horses’ chances of winning.

Every racehorse has different capabilities. Like humans, some excel at sprinting, whereas others are marathoners. Figuring out which is which, and how to pace them, can be the difference between faltering in the final furlough and taking home the Kentucky Derby’s $1.3 million winner’s payout. Jockeys and trainers have traditionally relied on centuries of experience, data from previous races, and intuition to plan their races.

Amandine Aftalion, a mathematician at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris, thought she could add to that. Since 2013, she has been analyzing the performances of world champion runners like sprinter Usain Bolt. She’s found that short-distance runners tend to win when they start strong and gradually slow down toward the finish line. But in medium-distance races, such as the 1600-meter, runners perform …

A Brief History of Horse Racing at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds