Daily newspaper keeps tabs on thoroughbred racing | Master Edition

In recent years, the national media has slammed Thoroughbred racing for all of us with stories of animal cheating, abuse, and death, as well as trainers using performance-enhancing drugs on fine-tuned equine athletes.

The question of whether Thoroughbred races were on life support was real. Although in slow decline for several years, online betting sites tied to simulcasts, along with casino/racing partnerships and an outdoor site that remained open during COVID mean the “sport of kings” is far from over. ‘to be dead. It even shows sparks of new interest in an industry that is still valued at over $3 billion today.

For Thoroughbred owners, trainers, investors, the disabled and those working in the industry, it’s important to keep up to date with Thoroughbred news as well as keep tabs on bloodlines. , tracking results and horse performance. The task is now easier with the growth of online publications on the web. Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN), based in Red Bank, New Jersey, is a leader in its genre and has grown its user base by 50% over the past three years. He says it is the largest and most widely read equine electronic journal in the world.

TDN CEO and President Sue Finley grew up in Massachusetts and was introduced to Thoroughbred racing by her family. A New York University journalism graduate, she began field work with the New York Racing Association at Belmont Park and after eight seasons took a position with ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

She has guided one of racing’s leading publications through three decades of growth from its early years as a daily subscription and fax newsletter to its current online and PDF formats which are free to readers and sponsored by The advertisement.

Finley said strict COVID-19 safety guidelines may have limited attendance at many indoor sporting events over the past two years, but they haven’t drastically affected outdoor Thoroughbred racing.

“Certainly safety guidelines have been put in place at trails across the country,” she said, “and some thoroughbred auctions and sales have been canceled or moved to offsite venues, but interest in thoroughbred racing has not faltered as our growing advertising support and readership base shows.

TDN has its roots in Matchmaker Breeders Exchange, a 1980s marketplace for the exchange of stallion information founded by Barry Weisbord.

He realized that the dissemination of information to track stallions, mares and their prodigy was necessary.

In the mid-1990s, Weisbord and some partners started a daily faxed subscription publication of racing results and editorial information calling it Thoroughbred Daily News.

It developed for 15 years as a fax publication before adding a PDF version via email in 2001, followed by the online version soon after.

According to Finley, “We added advertising in 1995 and changed our entire business model to advertising only in 2007, allowing free access to all parts of the TDN website (thoroughbreddailynews.com). Users still have the option to receive an email when the post goes live each night.

Nearly 22,000 people are signed up for email notification, and TDN is updated throughout the day with the latest news.

Although the inner workings of Thoroughbred racing – titles, bloodlines, sales and race results – are what attract users, including successful trainers like Rory Huston (New Jersey) and Gary Contessa (New York) on the website every morning, TDN has expanded its editorial and digital content, adding feature articles from a group of experienced newspaper writers, short video pieces from the field and, most recently, writer podcasts .

TD Thornton, a Boston-based reporter with 25 years of experience covering thoroughbred racing as a reporter, announcer and broadcaster, is a frequent contributor to TDN. Thornton helped TDN cover some of the highest-profile racing news, including legal issues surrounding some trainers’ use of performance-enhancing drugs, as well as horse injuries, deaths and abuse.

The sport continues to make the sports pages with increased scrutiny of Thoroughbred trainers, including National Racing Museum Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, whose last Kentucky Derby winner, Medina Spirit, failed a drug test for drugs, and Jorge Navarro, seven-time head coach at Monmouth. Park, who was recently sentenced to five years in prison in a performance-enhancing drug scandal.

TDN has added short online video content to the digital pages that includes news and features shot on location and edited remotely by Emmy Award-winning producer Patty Wolfe, whom Finley met at Wide World of Sports.

The podcast recently included discussions with former U.S. Representative Tom Rooney, the new head of the National Thoroughbred and Racing Association, as well as celebrity chef Bobby Flay, owner of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile race winner Pizza Bianca. Fillies Turf.

Finley said that even with the global uncertainty caused by the pandemic and the challenges of the race, there has been no reduction in TDN’s 25-person staff, which includes nine editors and editors and an advertising staff of five. people.

For pandemic security, staff were encouraged to work from home whenever necessary and production staff, using the latest technology, were able to upload a daily TDN without wasting time.

“We are not limited by page count and have published up to 102 pages during the Breeders’ Cup event,” Finley said. “The publication is built as we fill it and not in a pre-planned space, and that gives us a lot of flexibility. Our page count averages 40-80 pages per day.

Publishing a large publication with limited content on time and accessible to thousands of people is a daily challenge.

“We publish the most important results from tracks around the world every day,” Finley said. “And with the last night race at the Del Mar track in California taking place around midnight Eastern Daylight Time, or when there’s a major horse sale at night, we’re actually finishing our digital work in the early hours of the day of publication. Morning.”

Finley points out that beyond the pandemic, the past two years have been something of a game-changer for horse racing.

“With the government charging and prosecuting 27 people in a horse racing doping scandal and increased attention to safety protocols, there has been a huge reduction in racehorse injuries,” she said. declared. “These have led to the passage of federal legislation – the Horse Racing Security and Integrity Act – which is expected to come into effect in 2022 and is expected to put the sport on a humane and sustainable footing. Additionally, there has been a dramatic increase in awareness of the need for equine nursing homes and the funding to provide them.

Thoroughbred racing has come a long way since it arrived on Long Island in 1665 at the New Market track near present-day Garden City. The sport has had its ups, usually sparked by the performances of big horses like Secretariat, Affirmed and American Pharoah, and downs like recent drug scandals, but it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon. .

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