I’m talking about a different kind of draft. The aerodynamic kind. That’s the kind that wins horse races.
Did you know that when a horse is running approximately one horse length (2.5 meters) behind and 10 degrees to either side of another horse that it reduces aerodynamic drag to a significant degree? Reduce that drag by 13 percent and a horse can increase its average speed by 2 percent.
It might not sound like a lot, but that 2 percent can mean the difference between fifth place and first place, according to a study conducted by Dr. Andrew Spence at The Royal Veterinary College at The University of London and published in the journal Biology Letters.
Jockeys and trainers have known about drafting for some time, but now it’s less savvy and more science. Dr. Spence worked with colleagues at the Structure and Motion Laboratory and had access to a considerable body of data gathered by TurfTrax Racing.