Horse racing’s most heralded publication has been sold in a private deal to Z Capital Partners. Sports Information Group, the current parent company of DRF, announced the move on July 25, 2017. The specific terms of the deal were not revealed by either side, but the sale would most certainly involve a multi-million dollar transaction.
Legendary Horse Racing Newspaper
The Daily Racing Form has been published in the United States since 1894. It is the oldest and most respected horseracing publication in existence. Throughout the years the paper has evolved from a source of news and information into a valuable handicapping tool that is used each day by bettors throughout the United States.
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Each racing day DRF publishes region specific editions of the newspaper which include past performances for each race card conducted at tracks in that region. There are also stories which are relevant involving jockeys, trainers, and horses competing on all major racing circuits in the United States.
DRF has also been the sole provider of Beyer Speed Figures since purchasing the rights to them not long after they were introduced by Andrew Beyer. The speed figures elevated the usefulness of DRF and have now been joined by exclusive pace figures and par speed times for race tracks.
Online Racebook Influence
The sale of DRF was at least partly inspired by the growing popularity of online racebooks and online casinos. In an interview to discuss the move, the CEO of Z Capital Group referenced online gaming as a motivation for the purchase. James Zenni stated that Z Capital Group had been quietly observing the Daily Racing Form for the past four years.
Zenni also stated that efforts would be made to bolster the paper’s digital footprint. It is expected that more digital access and a revamped online platform will follow in the wake of the sale. Those who use online racebooks exclusively to make their horse racing bets need a more user-friendly platform which would permit them to incorporate DRF into their handicapping.
One must also wonder how computerized handicapping tool’s such as Formulator will be affected. Formulator allows individual bettors to purchase past performances supplied by the Daily Racing Form and export them to a software program which gives enhanced statistics. Bettors can also make notes in the software and customize which stats and features they would like to include. This is useful for those who like to play specific racing angles.
John Hartig, CEO of Sports Information Group, stated in an interview that the sale would lead to an expansion of DRF’s digital platform. It may even be a goal of Z Capital to seek integration with popular racebooks like Twin Spires and Bet America. These racebooks have provided free past performances for account holders from Brisnet and speed figures from Equibase. An expanded digital platform for DRF could be more appealing to these and other racebooks.
Z Capital and the Casino Industry
Z Capital has already established itself as a player in the casino industry. Earlier this year, the company purchased Affinity Gaming. The Las Vegas-based company owns 11 casinos and is valued at $580 million.
By purchasing the Daily Racing Form, Z Capital has positioned itself to take further advantage of gambling combinations that mix casino and racing operations. Many racetracks have incorporated slot machines into their facilities to help generate racing purses. It is not a stretch to envision online racebooks which also offer slot machines, blackjack, or other table games as online gambling becomes legal in more U.S. jurisdictions.
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