Daily Racing Form Executive and Columnist Steven Crist was America’s Voice for Horseplayers
Steven Crist, an industry innovator, horseplayer, journalist and racing executive, announced his retired July 20. Crist put together an investment group to buy Daily Racing Form in 1998, and served as the company’s chief executive until 2002. He was most recently its editor and publisher emeritus.
“I can’t think of a single individual who has contributed more to Daily Racing Form throughout its illustrious 123-year history than Steven Crist,” said John Hartig, DRF’s chairman and CEO. “Steve has been an outstanding steward of the DRF brand, an outspoken advocate of the horseplayer, and has brought innovations to racing and to our fans like no other. Over his 35-year career in racing, Steve’s relentless passion and his long-standing commitment to elevating the sport has earned him the highest respect of industry professionals and his colleagues alike. I am deeply appreciative of Steve’s numerous contributions and wish him continued good health and abundant success in playing the game into retirement.”
Crist, 59, graduated from Harvard and pursued his passion of pari-mutuel betting. He was named to the inaugural class of the Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2010. He covered the horse racing beat for the New York Times from 1981 to 1990, and then became the founding editor-in-chief of the Racing Times, which introduced statistical innovations, including Beyer Speed Figures, detailed race conditions, and timing in hundredths of a second, that have become industry standards. He was appointed by Governor Cuomo as a member of the New York state advisory commission on racing in 1992. He was the innovator for several reforms including the restructuring of “breakage” on straight wagers from 10 to five cents on the dollar, resulting in millions of dollars returned to bettors. He was a vice president of the New York Racing Association from 1994 to 1997, where he introduced full-card simulcasting and expanded wagering options.
In 1998, Crist and Alpine Capital purchased and transformed DRF, expanding both its statistical and journalistic content. DRF introduced new weekly print publications, instituted a book-publishing division, began selling past performances online, and introduced new products including Formulator and TicketMaker. Crist continued to write a weekly column and a blog, frequently advocating player-friendly changes to the racing game.
“I’m fortunate to have spent my career in and around the greatest game ever invented,” said Crist, 59, “and to have worked with so many talented colleagues at DRF for the betterment of the game and its customers. I’m really looking forward to doing some other things in retirement, but my heart won’t be far from the racetrack.”
Crist was an advocate for the horse player, and a top handicapper and analyst. He was a frequent guest on the NYRA replay show hosted by Harvey Pack. It was there that he showed his insight and ability in picking horses, specifically applying math, logic, and probability in making wagers.
“Whether as a bettor, reporter, columnist, editor, publisher, author or racetrack executive, Steven Crist has been America’s voice of the horseplayer for more than 35 years,” said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association. “His contributions to Thoroughbred racing are immense and we hope that he remains an advocate for our sport and its customers for many years to come.”