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When Daily Racing Form retooled the old National Charts Weekly into DRF Simulcast Weekly three years ago, the goal was to offer today's multitrack horseplayers more than just a handy collection of charts. Additions such as handicappers' notebooks, Winner's Books for all tracks, and trainer patterns and statistics were designed to make the serious player's life a bit easier in the hectic world of simulcasting.
That world is accounting for more and more of the national handle each year, completing a transformation of the racing business over the last 15 years. In that time, the business of racing has switched from being primarily a game of live wagering on live racing to one where more than 85 percent of the handle now comes either away from the track or on races being run somewhere else.
As more and more horseplayers become familiar and comfortable with national, multi-track simulcasting, those seeking to maintain an edge must dig even deeper and work even harder. With this issue, we hope DRF Simulcast Weekly can help readers achieve those goals by becoming both friendlier to use and more informative.
In addition to an overall redesign intended to be easier on the eyes, this issue contains several important new features:
* All of the special handicapping information provided for the top racing circuits will be organized by track in the section preceding the charts. Each major track will have a two-page spread, bringing together the various elements that previously appeared in different sections of the publication. So the Track Trends, Handicapper's Diary, Horses to Watch, and Winner's Book will appear together for each track.
* A new feature, Trainer Profile, will spotlight a different trainer each week - not necessarily the trainer of that week's big stakes race, but top trainers on each circuit whose horses are as likely to populate the claiming as well as the stakes ranks. Each in-depth profile will include statistical breakdowns for each trainer in 35 different categories, as well as a stable roster of what each trainer has in the barn and where those horses are likely to run next.
* The burgeoning field of handicapping contests will enjoy additional and expanded coverage, including weekly updates on the various qualifying tournaments around the country leading to the DRF/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping championship in Las Vegas.
* A new Weekly Stakes Review section will look back at the previous weekend's stakes action in greater analytical depth, including pace comparisons and trip notes for major events.
* Trainer patterns for the leading conditioners at all tracks, not just the major circuits, will now appear each week next to that track's Winners Book in the back of the publication.
These changes come in response to suggestions not only from DRF editors but also from our readers, whose loyalty we appreciate and whose feedback, to these changes or anything else, is always welcome and valued.