04/20/2010 10:58AM

Form Fitting


The new running horse artwork in the Daily Racing Form logo has stirred up all manner of reactions. When unveiled last week, it was like awakening to a whole new world:

"If I wanted modern art, I'd visit a freeway underpass," wrote Gwen K. from Fallbrook, Kan.

"The over/under on when they'd change that thing was 2020...I win!" exclaimed Rodrigo Z. of Ypsilante, Mich.

"It's official--the graphic artists have taken control. Run for your lives," warned Pamela T. of Truth or Consequences, N.M.

The change was no small thing, especially in a competitive business climate that places high value on branding and product recognition. And do not think for a moment that the choice of the new look was made in haste. The process was arduous. Debate was hot. And if you don't think so, here are a few of the designs that were considered and then discarded, some more reluctantly than others:

Empty_pockets This illustration, at left, was judged too much "on the money" as it were, especially since, in fairness, the winner of each race is right there somewhere in the Daily Racing Form past performances.
ImagesCA319HMISupporters of the logo art pictured at right were a more light-hearted group, and finally had to be reminded that betting on horses is serious business and that, with strict space limitations, there was precious little room for humor in the pages of the DRF.


We've all seen this expression before, at left, usually after a brutal photo or an outrageous DQ. The designer who submitted this particular sketch caught the mood, but he was a troubled soul and is no longer on staff.Selection_148_99

 A case always can be made for an edgy, breakout design to attract a crossover audience, which is undoubtedly why this one (right) got a lot of staff support. But then the question remains: Cross over to what? 

Finally, there was my personal favorite (below), a graphic representation of all that is desperate, dangerous and ultimately heroic about this grand sport and its supporters, both behind the scenes and at the windows. It's also probably for the best that I didn't have a vote.  


Christopherlally More than 1 year ago
From the sound of things you'd think we were talking about New Coke. It is a picture and a darn fine looking one at that. What I want to know is where is PEB.
Octave-the-Rave More than 1 year ago
RFLMAO ... excellent piece ... terrific read ... only you left-out Steve Crist's favorite: photo of a cash register!
ejs More than 1 year ago
Good job, Racing Form, with the new logo. Now maybe the graphic staff can come up with a way to distinguish Starter Allowance races in the pps which were qualified for against maidens and the open claiming price variety. For the last five years or so I've been suggesting adding an M to the line for races predicated on a maiden claiming price, as in, Alw 40000Ms. Seems like a simple enough way to strengthen the informational integrity of the paper--there is a big, as in huge, as in Pegasaurian class difference which should be acknowledged here--but, perhaps, now that the Form has their branding in place, they can start work on shoring up the holes in the past performances.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the requiem on Richard Migliore’s career. The man is 100% class, & what’s more, his talents are hardly confined to that of an athletic nature. His intellect is acute, & his broadcasting talents are as genuine as they have been overlooked. (One time, he aced the test as a guest race commentator. Next thing I knew, he was replaced by another jockey – also a fine man, notably courageous while in the saddle – who proved that he couldn’t improvise a perceptive sentence if he had been given carte blanche to plagiarize David McCullough.) My hat’s also off to Mr. Solis, a fine gentleman. I’m hoping that they both come to their senses & realize that it’s a new chapter in their lives, & that it’s time for them to let go of what had brought them glory in the past. Walking around the barns at 4:30 a.m., with your hat in hand begging for rides, is crazy! It’s demeaning. Why do this? JH, one year, come to the East Coast & put in an appearance at Gallagher’s on the Tuesday before the Derby, where an annual Derby seminar attracts about a hundred avid fans (this year, it is being held on 04/27/10). It’s always been enjoyable, & heck, for the price of the airfare, at the very least, you’ll at least get a great free steak (with the airlines now charging for in-flight meals, you might even break even!)
alanh More than 1 year ago
LOL... thanks for giving me the "long version"! There are several names there I don't recognize, so I'm saving your list for future reference. As for the others, we obviously have similar tastes -- I actually have a signed copy of "Addams and Evil" I discovered at a used book store for around $3.50 some time back (who cares about a HUMORIST's autograph?!). I don't want to be accused of trying to turn this into a literary/pop culture blog (God, or Crist, forbid), but to make absolutely sure of your credentials, I do need to know how many times you've watched "Big Trouble in Little China" -- "WHAT? What will come out no more??!?!"...
alanh More than 1 year ago
Personally, I thought this post was hilarious, and its timing perfect. Great way to lighten things up in the pre-Derby atmosphere. I don't post here very often, but always enjoy reading. I appreciate good writing, and have enjoyed and benefited from your work for many years, going back to your Blood-Horse days. Nothing in writing is as difficult as humor, and you are still going strong. Hunter S. Thompson's influence on you is pretty obvious, and I'd guess you're pretty familiar with S.J. Perelman -- who else makes YOU laugh?
Jay H More than 1 year ago
alanh -- Harry Shearer, Chuck Jones, Kenny Mayne, Steven Wright, Penn, Teller, my daughter, Steve Martin, my dachshund, Steven Colbert's writers, Steve Andersen, no one else named Steve, Wallace & Grommit, Charles Addams, Kurt Vonnegut, Jonathan Winters, Woody Allen (pre Soon-Yi), Spinal Tap, David Milch, Garrison Keillor, Hank Hill, Monty Python, Jay Ward, Jack Paar, Richard Pryor, the Amazing Johnathan, David Sedaris. There's more, but this is starting to feel like a Facebook profile, and I'm frightened of Facebook.
Ricky More than 1 year ago
Personally, P.G. Wodehouse, of Bertie and Jeeves fame, always lightens my day. And any short story or "novel" of his is guaranteed to have many racing metaphors, trips to English tracks and often plots involving betting - on a horse race or perhaps on which local vicar will give the longest sermon - and the chicanery involved in winning the wager. In fact, it's odds on that anyone reading anything by Wodehouse will become a fan forever.
Donny Beisbol More than 1 year ago
What's the big deal? I may not have noticed for a while, had I not read Jay's blog. The new logo is in good taste, and fairly modest. They could have done A LOT worse.
GunBow More than 1 year ago
Jay: Thanks for the article on the end of the Santa Anita meet in which you celebrated the accomplishments of Tuscan Evening and Bourbon Bay. As a fan who was at Santa Anita for all of their stakes wins, it was great to see them both receive the attention they so much deserve. In a meet where so many horses remained sound and so many won multiple stakes, those two along with Sidney's Candy and Zenyatta's Santa Margarita were the stories of the meet.