Horse racing is a sport that is constantly evolving thanks to the development of new technology. Few sports embrace the new breakthroughs that are made more so than horse racing, with the product looking completely different in this modern day than it did 20 years ago.

One of the best new developments that have been adapted is that of drone technology, with many courses using this tech to help offer a greater and safer experience to everyone connected with the sport.

Drone Technology and Churchill Downs

Drone technology has played a key role in the welfare of Racegoers at Churchill Downs, as shows, for a number of years now. That was evident at the 147th Derby. It was revealed that drones operated by AERAS played a key role in avoiding the spread of COVID-19 at the Derby by helping sanitize the entire course throughout the day.

This played a key a role in helping fans stay safe while at the horse racing, and taking in one of the greatest shows on dirt. It was also a pivotal moment, as many feared at the time that life as we knew it would never return, which means that the part played by the drones played a key role in helping put those in fear of COVID at rest.

How The Technology Worked

It was a smart addition to Derby day by organisers at Churchill Downs, as the drones would operates throughout by spraying out sanitizing products over the track. That included the drones playing a role in disinfecting the barriers located around the track, and also all other surfaces that Racegoers may come into contact with throughout the day.

AERAS has played a key role in ensuring the safety of visitors at a number of sporting events over recent years, and that is evident by the fact that they were awarded a Federal Aviation Administration 139 Certificate. The Derby was a massive success in the year that the drones were used, as over 51,000 fans were in attendance for the biggest sporting event following the lifting of COVID-19 measures across the United States.

Is Drone Technology Welcomed Everywhere?

Drone technology played a key role in the success of the Kentucky Derby in 2020, but it is not a form of technology that all racecourses are accepting of. There have been a number of high profile cases in the United Kingdom over the past three years, which has led to the racecourse association in the United Kingdom claiming that users of the drone to stream live footage of the race are breaking the law.

Users of these drones are looking to get a one-up on the bookmakers, as they can stream races from the drone that they are using directly to their computers with no delay. This enables bets to be made on sites such as the Betfair Exchange, which offers in-play betting. As most streams on sportsbooks, and even television, have a slight delay, there is no advantage with betting in-play in many races.

However, the drone technology and lack of delay in streaming means that the operators have a crucial edge on other bettors looking to make similar wagers. But, there has not yet been any decision on how to stop this form of betting.


Drone technology looks set to play a continued role in the success and popularity of horse racing moving forward.

The tech is likely to play an advanced role in how we watch the sport over coming years, as it would only seem a matter of time before leading broadcasters look to offer drone footage of some of the biggest races on the calendar.