10/06/2013 12:57PM

Mark Simon: New look takes DRF to the next level


By Mark Simon, editorial director, Daily Racing Form

Those that have been in racing for awhile (quite a while) may remember the old Eastern edition of Daily Racing Form, which was called the Morning Telegraph before converting to the name of its parent company in 1972. The Eastern edition was a massive broadsheet, and to make it handy to handicap and carry around the track, you had to fold it at least two times, and sometimes three. Unless you were sitting at a dining room table, you could not spread it out to read – your arm-span would not be wide enough, unless you were Wilt Chamberlain – and no one read the Form like that anyway.

Past performances then were printed in two sets across a page. That was possible because they did not contain anywhere near the information per running-line as they do today. There were no Beyer Speed Figures, conditions of allowance races, beaten lengths in the company line, and other important tools that readers now take for granted.

Daily Racing Form has undergone a number of changes through the years, implementing these for the benefit of its readers as well as for the changing times and reading habits. We’re sure there were those in the 1990s who were furious when the Racing Form abandoned the broadsheet in the East and went to a tabloid. The question, of course, was why did it take so long to get rid of an antiquated size when the act of reading past performances was not enhanced or aided in any way?

With that in mind, on Oct. 7, Daily Racing Form is launching its new, handier, contemporary publication. It will be saddled-stitched and trimmed, printed on heavier, brighter paper for a clean, modern look, and will include more color pages and editorial features from news to history to human interest. Most importantly, it will be easier for readers to carry around – and read.

Past performances, the core of our existence, will remain the same great tool as ever, but offered up in an easier-to-read, easier-to-handle format. We know our readers will appreciate that. The popular Closer Looks, which previously had been put in the outside margins next to past performances, are now underneath the running lines for each horse.

New features will be added, including more photography, most notably that of multi-Eclipse Award winner Barbara Livingston, principal photographer for Daily Racing Form. Fans – and she has legions – can enjoy more of her work, often in full color . . . a touch we think will be appreciated by anyone who loves horses and racing.

With the Oct. 7 issue, we are also adding an additional handicapping feature. For most major tracks, we will offer a page to help handicappers get a “read” on the card at a glance, with some important new tools. Called Quick Sheet Angles, it provides succinct information on the best jockey-trainer combos on the card, the most profitable trainer angles, and horses exiting key races, among the features. The page will appear immediately after our analysis of the day’s card done by one of our expert handicappers, and will be provided for Belmont Park, Santa Anita, Keeneland, Gulfstream, Fair Grounds, Aqueduct, Churchill, Oaklawn, Del Mar, Hollywood, Saratoga, and Monmouth, as well as other tracks.

In an era when many newspapers are reducing editorial space and content, Daily Racing Form will be expanding in that arena, to include many of the compelling stories and personalities that populate this great sport.

Innovation has long been a hallmark of the Form, and even as the sport moves further into an online sphere, with online betting and online racing experiences, we remain committed to print and to our readers by providing them with a better, cleaner, more comprehensive hands-on publication.

Good luck at the races. And good reading.

Joey Zangari More than 1 year ago
I mean, really- DRF is posting an old article from Oct., 2013 as a "new" article headlining their front page of the website???? At least in my circle of friends, DRF has become an non-entity in our w/e racing and I suspect most others too.
Richard Cadena More than 1 year ago
Is the reason most of your articles are now DRF plus, meaning the majority of fans and bettors will not read those articles, because the Form now gets most of its revenues from the many advertisements it has all over the paper. When you have fewer accessing the DRF's articles that means those same readers will not be able to write comments to their articles. The form in recent times more and more seems to reflect the values and needs and interests of the owners, and powers that be in the industry. Maybe by having fewer access the DRF that will reduce the level of criticism of the horse racing industry. Whatever the reason, the DRF seems to be misguided. In the long term, it will lose whatever large audience it could say it has; for sales of ads and other PR pitches, there is strength in numbers of viewers and if it has a national audience that could only enhance its selling points to those that want to place ads in the paper. Moreover, the DRF looks more like an industry publication, not an objective reporter of the news. But that may be good because it most likely never was objective; it made people more than ever aware of its regional East Coast bias.
john g More than 1 year ago
DRF+ members Just curious if any plus members get free drf+ articles due to buying drf products, and being a good solid customer? I thought drf was not going to charge loyal customers who regular made purchases, but the free- loaders who never buy anything then make them pay.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dear Mark, Good day sir. I purchased that eastern addition of the DRF back in early 70's for $1.00. Certainly, the new information offered is valuable, but not at the $9.00 off track price that I pay. In those days, if you kept your own records you enjoyed some lucrative days. You could actually make money back then by playing the favorites. Today there is so many 1/2 and 3/5 shots that those opportunities do not exist. Although the form is an important tool, it is just not worth the cost.
Mickey More than 1 year ago
100% accurate
Don Magiera More than 1 year ago
Thanks for the improvements. I believe the most appreciated change will be the "brighter paper" The lighting at many otb/track betting locations is poor at best and dismal at many. Keep up the good work.
Wilma Johnson More than 1 year ago
I do not like the new look. Print too small, crowded and hard to navigate. On the up side it has made me go out and look at different products. I used to go to the DRF web page every day and that has now changed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The new look Form has been out for a while now . How are sales going ? People in my circle of players do not like It . I for one never buy it. I will use it if its comp.Its not worth the price.
Bri Mott More than 1 year ago
I think racing needs a 'Best Bets' here in the U.S. as they have in Australia. Not only is it small compact and to the point, but it isn't overwhelming to the newcomers who want to read a form, learn, and begin betting. This smaller type book has become so popular that covers are made for you to buy so that you can look stylish with it at the races. This is a happy medium between the old huge ugly newspaper and this smaller book. I think step in the right direction. Although I would say the editorial things would be better left out. Keep costs down and advertise what it truly is...a racing form not a magazine.
Kevin More than 1 year ago
Brisnet and TDR here I come. Disappointed. The only thing I might miss is The Wizard, but I'll buy his stuff when I like. Racing is dying slowly and this latest fix of something unbroken will just prolong the suffering a little more.
M More than 1 year ago
I am an ex-DRF customer. I am now using Equibase PP's and they work just fine for more than half the cost. Bad move DRF. Signed and ex-customer.