Equidaily Racing Journal


Blast from the past


A nostalgic look at a Daily Racing Form from twenty years ago.

A trip to the attic a few days ago provided us the opportunity to take an interesting look back. Found among the stored items was this Daily Racing Form dated Aug 22, 1987. It's interesting to see how things have changed in just twenty years time...

The most obvious difference: Twenty years ago -- at least here in the Northeast section of the country -- the DRF was a broadsheet. Today it's a tabloid.

Comparing covers

Remember the "Advance Edition"? Today the "day-early" edition is the norm -- but in 1987 buying your Form early was something that, in these parts, was pretty much limited to the Saratoga season.

This particular edition is dated Saturday, but contains past performances for Sunday and Monday. The highlight was Sunday's G1 Forego at Saratoga.

Close-up cover

The talented sprinter Groovy won the 1987 Forego carrying 132 pounds.

Note the differences in the PPs. For those that are relatively new to the game, the asterisk by Groovy's name is a "mud mark". An asterisk signified a runner that had shown ability over an off-track. An "X" indicated a runner with even more talent on the off-going. And an "X" in a circle said a horse was a superior performer on wet tracks. This was all before the PPs simply listed the runner's lifetime record over off-going.

See that the grade of stakes races took up a separate line -- as opposed to today when G1, G2, or G3 is tacked onto the name of the stake.

And who's riding those horses?!? That info was listed in the program [as well as the graded entries in the DRF] as was the program number of the horses.

Other info missing in 1987: Birthdate, auction price, stud fee, Beyer figs, trainer stats, claimed-from info, workout placing, etc.

And speaking of workouts -- how about that 56.4 on Aug 8 for Groovy?!?

G1 Forego, SAR, R8, 8/23/87

Groovy running in the G1 Forego

Let's get nostalgic. Below is a list of the leading Saratoga jockeys at the time. Also, on the right, a list of leading jockeys and trainers at Monmouth. And another thing missing from the PPs. the "L" symbol for Lasix -- instead there was a med list printed.

Saratoga leading jocks MTH leading jocks and trainers

And here's a list of the entries at Saratoga for Sunday, 8/23/87. See if you remember any of them. And take note, just below the entries is the carryover from the previous page of entrants in Sunday's second race. Take a look at the first runner listed in this 7F MSW event.


And in this day-and-age of internet wagering and full-card simulcasting at facilities around the country it's interesting to remember that twenty years ago the number of outlets that offered wagering on other tracks and even big events was far, far more limited.

Travers simulcast outlets Iselin simulcast outlets

And how about those quaint days before the internet when you had to cough up some dough and call a race-results hotline?

On the right, another ad from the 8/22/87 DRF. Wonder how Mr Cohen made out?

Race results hotline Cohen wants to handicap

Another common feature of the DRF in 1987, the Turf Topics page. This particular edition had a preview of the upcoming Travers written by Joe Hirsch. A profile of Merle's Pearl, going in the Pistol Packer Hcp at Philly, written by Bob McCurley. A profile of Waquoit, entered in the Iselin at Monmouth, written by Jack Kelly. A look at Mexican-invader Green Peace, previewing his start in the Palm Beach Hcp at Calder, written by William C Phillips. Tom Atwell wrote about Psyched going in the My Juliet Hcp at Pimlico. and there was also a cartoon by Peb, this one was Paul Mellon, "Owner of Java Gold, Who Goes in Today's Travers Stakes".

Turf Topics page

And finally, in the days before ebay, memorabilia was sold the old-fashioned way.

And I have to admit, I got nostalgic seeing the ad for Stephen Dobyns' Charlie Bradshaw mysteries. If you've never read one, they were kind of fun. Saratoga-based PI Bradshaw was typically involved in some kind of racetrack-related case. Check them out if you can still find them in the bookstores -- although they're probably more than $3.95 now!

Racing memorabilia
Dobbins books

...Hope you enjoyed the brief walk down memory lane.


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