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Posted by on 8/13/2013 8:28:34 PM

Recording the data that makes up the past performances in the Daily Racing Form is something that many online sports betting site players are not privy to so let’s try to go behind the scene to see how the past performances are gathered.

When I was young and working for DRF, I moonlighted a few seasons taking the race call for harness races at Hollywood Park and it was quite an education.

Growing up after having started reading the Form when I was around 8 years old, I fathomed that the information in the paper was a huge collaborative work. I thought there would be 12 guys in the press box, each watching one horse and recording where he was at every point of call during a race.

How wrong I was as there is just a chart caller and a chart taker that are responsible for putting what they see on the track, on paper and eventually in the Daily Racing Form.

Being a chart caller is part art and part science. They are observations, interpretations and approximations of one individual and they are subjects to be studied.

The chart caller will usually get to the track pretty early. He will record the early scratches, all the changes including jockey switches and equipment changes and go over some of the harder names to pronounce that will be racing that day.

The chart caller will be high up in press box for the best vantage point and he will have some insurance in the form of a VCR to record the races so he can refine his race call and make sure things are accurate.

The caller will decide how far a horse is behind another horse and how the race is run. The designations will be at certain points of call during the race and points of call will change depending on the distance of the race.

Back in the day, chart callers would call the actual names to the chart taker but more often than not now, they call numbers. It’s easier to see, easier to jot down and it helps with being more accurate.

There is always a start call and then different calls at the poles that are around every track. The last call before the finish line is always a furlong out and the chart caller does not have to call out the margins at the end of the race because the photo finish camera generates them.

During the race, the chart caller may notice trouble a horse is encountering or if a horse as bled and that will be noted in his written summary of the race.

After the chart and calls are recorded and the other items like condition of the track and other things, a caller can go back and watch the replay and make sure what he recorded is the same thing he sees on the screen.

After the charts are sent off to Equibase, they will be published as charts and the running line will make up the past performances of all the horses.

Back in the day, legendary gamblers like Pittsburgh Phil and Cad Irish used to make their own charts and they had a tremendous edge.

Next time an astute player is going over the past performances, keep in the back of your mind the work and structure it took to make them.



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