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See What A Driver Sees


Published: January 22, 2012 7:00 pm ET

Last Comment: January 24, 2012 8:40 pm ET | 12 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

In harness racing, like any other sport, it’s easy enough to stand at the sidelines and call a driver's move good or bad, but if put on the track in their position your opinion might change. What really goes on at racetrack level? It’s an experience that can mesmerize fans and provide information to handicappers they don’t usually consider and can’t always access. Post race interviews with drivers provide some perspective, but nothing beats the actual experience.

But now, Western Fair District is providing its fans and handicappers with the opportunity to view how a race unfolds from a driver’s perspective by fashioning cameras to their helmets.

While the idea is not completely new to racing as cameras have been attached to drivers and sulkies for video features and documentaries in the past, it is a new endeavour for the Western Fair District. The videos are a product of Marketing Manager Sarah Imrie in collaboration with her team.

“I actually came up with the idea because of working closely with our marketing team here at the Western Fair District,” Imrie told Trot Insider. “They had used the helmet camera for our Annual Fair in September and had a lot of fun wearing it on the different rides. So bringing it over to the racetrack seemed like a natural next step. I had seen the video of Herve Filion talking his way through a race at Yonkers and I thought it was just a great way for fans to see what really goes on while the drivers are in the race!”

Imrie says the drivers were excited to try out the helmet camera during its first week of trial runs in mid-January.

“My first successful video was of Aaron Byron, and the reaction from the social media streams it was posted on was definitely far more than I expected. It had over 600 views in its first day!” noted Imrie. “It’s hard to know how other people are going to react. I thought it was just the coolest thing, but for all I knew people would think of it as dangerous or overdone. Luckily, my worries weren’t realised.”

Greg Dustin Driving Makindollarsnsense

Greg Dustin and Garry MacDonald were also adorned with the camera in following races with more to come. Imrie says development of the initiative and its uses are still underway. One of their ideas is to attach a mic to the drivers to get better audio quality as well as some play by play of the action.

“Aside from the mud stains on the footage, it really worked well,” she said. “The audio has presented a bit of a challenge, but now that I know it has been received well by fans I’m eager to keep testing out new ways and new camera angles to get a fresh perspective on the sport. I’ll admit I was a little anxious about any issues with concerns of liability and if the judges would have a problem with the camera being attached to the helmet. We’ve taken the steps here to check with everyone involved and the reaction I’ve had across the board has been positive. I’m not sure how it’s worked for tracks in the past, but it seems to be generating some excitement here, which is progress in itself.”

To view the videos, visit Western Fair District’s Youtube page.

January 24, 2012 - 8:40 pmGreat video!! Our great

Ben Paniccia SAID...

Great video!! Our great sports need more video's like this to market the sport.I loved it.

January 24, 2012 - 9:05 amThis is a great tool and it

This is a great tool and it really gives us a birds-eye view of how fast they are moving! I've had a secret dream for awhile to drive a standardbred - I think this "helmet cam" video may have cured me.

January 23, 2012 - 8:21 pmThe language would have to

carlo renon SAID...

The language would have to be censored!!

January 23, 2012 - 1:52 pmwow!!!! such the best

wow!!!! such the best footage ever i seen in harness racing! lets do this across the board! great for our most reliable people the fans!

January 23, 2012 - 1:22 pmWhat an exhilarating

Luis Willis SAID...

What an exhilarating view!But I agree with David ,just let us hear the sound of the drivers and horses, the music sounds like a theme for The Match Game or something!

January 23, 2012 - 12:53 pmwhat a great idea!! I would

what a great idea!! I would support Sarah's idea to work on sound as the music just didn't work, in fact I turned it off. This was a great mile to show video from, leaving back in the pack, pulling early, flushing cover, tipping three wide down the back! That's an eventful trip. Might be an idea when posting the video to put the charted results up too to give a sense of how far back, where other horses were coming from etc. I'd like to see more of these videos

January 23, 2012 - 11:07 amThis is a very interesting

Ivan Lussier SAID...

This is a very interesting video. I already saw something similar with thoroughbreds. As a long-time harness racing fan, I always thought of what and how can a driver see in front of him when he has ‘two big cheeks’ staring him in the face! The video shows me that there is a lot of space between the driver’s seat and the ‘horse’s patoot’ so that there is good vision of what’s ahead - I better stop here before my comment becomes X rated! For me, this video is very informative and it should be continued to give and show the racing fans the different aspects of harness racing. Congratulations!

January 23, 2012 - 9:49 amAs a fan of harness racing

As a fan of harness racing ,a view many of us never see,awesome thanks.

January 23, 2012 - 7:34 amgreat job but instead of the

great job but instead of the music why not let us hear what the driver is saying ?

January 23, 2012 - 12:21 amAs fans of other sports, we

Brad Watt SAID...

As fans of other sports, we demand this type of coverage... Great idea, and a great chance for fans, and bettors (who are also fans, deep down) to realize how quick decisions must be made, and how tight things can get on the race track...

January 22, 2012 - 10:04 pmGreat idea! JF

Great idea!


January 22, 2012 - 8:09 pmEvery driver should be

norm files SAID...

Every driver should be wearing one of would make officiating so much easier as pertaining to pylon violations, interference infractions, and something that is becoming a bit of a problem ignored..Whipping horses past the wire.

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