The Purpose of a Starting Gate in Horse Racing

There are several different names for it, but the function or purpose remains the same for horse racing starting gates. Also called a starting barrier or stall, the invention of the machine guarantees a fair start in the sport of horse racing. Racing tracks all over the world that feature horses use starting gates since there are no other practical or successful alternatives to it. For the most part, the starting gas has several stalls in it, aligned in a row and made of at least 12 individual stalls.

Keep in mind that there also are smaller gates intended for training facilities with the aim of teaching horses how to get comfortable with them. In big-time races like the Kentucky Derby, starting gates serve as an auxiliary gate and reinforcement for the principal or primary gates.

You usually see these gates suspended from a welded steel truss situated overhead. The reinforcement or support comes from the wheels equipped with pneumatic tires. For the most part, you will see an entire structure specially designed for towing using a tractor or big truck. The purpose of the design for towing is that for the convenient moving of the horse racing starting gates anywhere in the racetrack. You can drag them over roads and highways, provided you have the right truck to do it.

In horse racing, the starting gates typically have an entry point situated at the rear portion of the stall. It is where the horses will enter in preparation for the race. The gates serve the purpose of locking behind the horse once the animal enters. Since the entrance is at the back, you usually will see the front gates closed the moment the horse gets loaded inside. However, you do have to understand that the front entrance is not permanently closed since a starting gate crew may need to open it in case a horse does not willingly enter the stall.

Modern starting gates used in horse racing come with electromagnetic locks. Designing the stall doors focuses on giving way in case a racehorse will attempt to bolt through the front or back. The purpose of providing an unobstructed way is to prevent or at least minimise the injury to both the horse and the rider. The modern method of operating a starting gate usually begins by putting the horses in place for the start of the race. A person assigned as starter determines if the competition is good to go by looking at the horses’ situation. The operator will push a button that cuts the electric current in the starting gates, thereby opening all front stall doors simultaneously. A bell will ring, signalling that the race begins and stopping of the bets.