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Oct 11, 2013

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD-NEW DRF FORMAT

By: JOE GIRARDI


               I was going to write a review of some of the past weekend’s stakes races but when I picked up my racing form for Monday October 7th I had to write about that instead. For a few weeks before the October 7th deadline I saw some poster in various OTB’s and on some websites about how this was going to be a new size and format. Didn’t think much of it at the time but when I got my Monday copy it took me a while to calm down from the shear ridiculousness of what the Daily Racing Form did.

               Well the new size and format meant that the racing form that everyone knew for the past 20 years or so was now less than half the size. That’s right, less than half the size. The daily racing book that had been sold for a while at a price of $4 or $5 and contained about 15 tracks a day, printed on cheap paper and hard to read now had some company as the daily racing form was the same size, on the same paper and difficult to read. The ads read, Same Great PPs, Same Number of Tracks, Same great editorial coverage, same great price. I was flabbergasted when I saw this, especially same great price. The paper is half the size, hard to read, printed on cheap paper and not allowing for the horses names in the company line to be read clearly. For example, in race 3 at Belmont on Wednesday October 9th, 2013, the #7 James Jingle, in his July 12th, 2013 race he finished 8th, the winner of the race was listed as  SntS and the second place finisher was TcnCT and the third place finisher was SknCnd. Well this is obvious to everyone who is reading the pp’s that those horses are SEVENTY SIX, TYCOON CAT and SMOKIN CANDY, right? Wrong, you have to be kidding. Look at the 5th race on that same day for Our Emerald Forest pp’s, the winner of the race was listed as HT. Really HT? the horses name is Hamnet. A horse by the way that shipped in for his last race and may not be as popular as some of the other horses when trying to figure out whats what. I had to go back and check the charts to figure out some of these names, this new format is something that has brought drf to the next level? Not even close.

               Another ad poster stated the new format is “Easier to read” “Easier to use” “Easier to win”. Really? Wow I guess because this ad says it, it must be true. It is insulting to horseplayers to try and tell them that this is easier to read, it is extremely difficult to read, much harder to use and easier to win? How about that?

               They also tried to tell their customers about the new features this new format would have. There more would be more color photos and quick sheet angles. Well anyone who has been reading the form as long as I have realizes that color photos aren’t new. More color photos isn’t a new feature, in fact I didn’t realize that if you would wanted to add more color photos that you would have to cut the size of the form in less than half. Of course you wouldn’t and of course, color photos isn’t anything new. The new quick sheet angles aren’t bad they are just a summary of some angles that you would be able to see in the form itself. Ok, not a bad idea, but again something that you can barely read on this “mini” form.

               It is insulting that the management of the form is trying to tell us horseplayers how this format is so much better for us when they should just tell us the truth. They are clearly trying to cut costs and don’t care how they treat the customer. I would pay more for a paper that was the same size of the “old” form that just had pp’s, no articles, no “extra” color photos, just pp’s. It has made a game that is very challenging even more challenging. It was fun to go over the pp’s watch replays look at charts to try and come up with the winners but it has made it that much harder with this new format. I know plenty of other horseplayers and not one of them likes this new format, in fact they despise it. A few of them had stopped playing the horses over the last few days and are contemplating not betting again. It is amazing to me how poor of a decision was made here and without any feedback from their customers before they decided to do this.

               I am hoping with all the negative feedback they have been getting that they get their heads on straight and go back to what it used to be. If not they will have a long road ahead of them.

 



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