A Comparison of Devices for Race Day Characterization of North American Turfgrass Thoroughbred Racing Surfaces

Peter R. Schmitt, Wayne Sanderson, John Rogers, Tyler J. Barzee, Michael Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Both pre-race meet and daily turf surface condition measurements are required by regulations adopted as part of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA). The Orono Biomechanical Surface Tester (OBST) is the primary device used for characterizing a racing surface and is used for the pre-meet inspections. Tools that are better suited for the daily testing of turf surfaces are also needed to meet the new federal regulations. The purpose of this study was to compare five simple tools commonly used in turf applications to the OBST. Data were collected with each of the six devices at plots chosen to approximate the current and potential compositions of North American turf racetracks. Correlations and linear regression models were then established between the simple tool measurements and the parameters measured by the OBST. The moisture probe was found to be the primary device for race day characterization due to its strong correlation to OBST measurements. The Longchamp Penetrometer is also prioritized for daily measurements due to its established correlation to horse performance and injuries. The Clegg Impact Hammer provides further improvement of the linear regression model. The Turf Shear Tester and GoingStick® were not found to correlate well to the biomechanically based device.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication was supported by the Central Appalachian Regional Education and Research Center through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/US Centers for Disease Control (NIOSH/CDC) Grant 6T42OH010278. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIOSH/CDC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • equine
  • jockey
  • portable tools
  • racing
  • safety
  • turfgrass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


Dive into the research topics of 'A Comparison of Devices for Race Day Characterization of North American Turfgrass Thoroughbred Racing Surfaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this