Pat Cummings recently wrote an article about run-ups. To me, run-ups are track specific and since I'm not a pace handicapper, they don't affect me as much as they affect others. Still, the main point is a good one, since gambling dollars are at stake, why can't those who pay for the show, the gamblers, get all the information and then decide what is important and what isn't. It really is time for a change.
It isn't that technology isn't available, after all Trakus has the capabilities of doing exactly what Zebra Technologies is now doing for the NFL (see videos):
The problem has more to do with making the big change, and getting universal agreement to make the change. I'm sure, changing formatting would be costly to implement to begin with but it is a necessity, however radical change is something the the horse racing industry seems to fight as it is full of captains who are masters of going down with the ship rather than change things.
Is it too much to ask to find out the actual running time of a horse from where the beam kicks in to the finish line for horses other than the winner? I still don't think a universal answer exists when dealing with a horse shows it is second beaten 10 lengths as to whether it finished 2 seconds slower than the winner, or it was beaten 10 physical lengths at the finish, and if this is the same scenario for each distance, for other parts of the race and from track to track. How often is it subjective and much of it is subjective? We don't need subjective when it comes to times, not in today's day and age.
We might need new formatting, a new past performance line or additional info which shows MPH by the individual horse at various points of call and the finish (or of course, make a length equal exactly .2 seconds without guessing). Perhaps MPH when it comes to actual distance traveled, and incorporate run-up times too. Track variants/speed figures would be easy to manufacture, especially after a few weeks of getting the real info.
And why not include wind speed in the line like they do in quarter horse races? Put it there, and let the handicapper decide its relevance.
It is the 21st Century and horse racing needs to progress past the stopwatch.