03/29/2010 11:00PM

Leo Waldman, DRF ad executive, dies at 99


Leo Waldman, who in the 1950s founded the advertising departments of the Daily Racing Form and its old sister publication, The Morning Telegraph, died at his home in Hewlett, N.Y., on Monday morning. He was 99.

Waldman worked for the Form for more than 50 years and wrote the Form's weekly New York breeding column for more than a decade.

Born in Brooklyn, Waldman was an editor for his school newspaper at Franklin K. Lane High School and got a job as a copy boy at the New York Herald Tribune while attending night classes at New York University. His friends and colleagues in the horse racing industry included such Daily Racing Form icons as the late columnist Joe Hirsch and the cartoonist Pierre "Peb" Bellocq as well as the late Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro and Hall of Fame trainer John Nerud.

At the Herald Tribune, Waldman was asked to fill in as a horse racing reporter and discovered the sport. That led to a job at The Morning Telegraph. He later approached the Telegraph and Daily Racing Form management about selling advertising for the publications but was met with skepticism. The Telegraph and Form were circulation-driven, since they had a monopoly on the past performance format and carried a high sale price. Waldman was allowed to try advertising sales on straight commission and turned the position into a full-time job. Waldman later conducted an annual survey on major sports attendance, which he used to promote horse racing.

Waldman retired from the Form as advertising manager in 1990 but continued to write the publication's New York breeding column for several more years.

Waldman is survived by his wife of 41 years, Jacqueline; a daughter, Robyn Waldman Arvedon; a son-in-law, Andrew Arvedon; and a grandson, Jack Leo Arvedon. A funeral service was planned for Wednesday at the Boulevard Riverside Chapel in Hewlett.