Special Measurement Gauges Heat

As part of its equine health and safety protocols, the Maryland Jockey Club is using a special measurement to gauge when summer heat becomes dangerous.

MJC Acting President Mike Rogers explained the company uses a protocol called the WetBulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) measurement, which takes into account temperature, humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover to determine potential heat stress. It is different than the heat index, which takes into consideration temperature and humidity including for shady areas.

The MJC July 23 changed first post time to 1:50 p.m. from 12:40 p.m. based on the measurement.

“It’s used by all major sports, the military and the Federation Equestre Internationale as a better way of determining whether heat exposure will be a risk to performance,” Rogers said. “We’ve been using the measurement. It’s not just about temperature—95 degrees can feel different in direct sunlight rather than shade.”

 Rogers said if the WBGT measurement is at 91.4, there is no choice but to cancel racing. The measurement during the delayed July 23 program was approaching 90.

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