Daily Racing Form Online Historical Archive

Oct 26th 2009 12:46 am |

Back in July, in a post about Fillies and Mares at Delaware Park, I mentioned the launch of the Daily Racing Form online archive. The archive is a tremendous resource for racing fans and I have made heavy use of it over the last few months. They recently posted a video about the project on YouTube so I thought this would be a good time for a well overdue post about this significant preservation project.

The 3,000 volume archive of the Daily Racing Form – the largest known collection of the Form – was donated to the Keeneland Library in 2000. In 2007, the preservation and digitization of the collection began in partnership with the University of Kentucky. The first phase of the online archive was launched this summer and is being hosted by the Kentuckiana Digital Library.

The digital archive has approximately 78,000 pages and 305,000 articles.  The online collection is not complete but does include selected issues of the Racing Form from 1897 to 1991. The first phase of the project focused on specific events primarily the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown season but does include selected issues from other events. For example, I discovered this summer that a portion of Saratoga’s 1919 season has been digitized (Man O’ War’s two-year-old season). They recently added DRF coverage of the first Breeders Cup from 1984.

A tremendous amount of work and expense goes into preserving and digitizing such a large and fragile collection — the folks at the Keelenand Library and the University of Kentucky have done a great job in completing this first phase. The website is easy to use with full-text searching and an intuitive interface. Each of the issues include a table of contents, making it possible to efficiently browse through multiple volumes.

The University of Kentucky and the Keeneland Library is currently seeking assistance for completing the remainder of the digitization — you can learn more about supporting the project on their website.

This recently produced video provides a brief description of the project:

Visit the homepage for the Daily Racing Form Online Archive

For folks on Twitter, you can get updates on the DRF Project at http://twitter.com/DRFpreservation

UPDATE:  Becky Rider from the the University of Kentucky left a comment and pointed out a feature of the archive that I had not noticed before.  On the advanced search page, it is possible to limit searches to headlines, bylines, past performances, race charts, advertisements, etc.  Thanks to Becky for taking the time to comment.

Breeders Cup history from the pages of the DRF coming this week.


Filed in Daily Racing Form Online Archives,Keeneland Library,thoroughbred racing history

2 Responses to “Daily Racing Form Online Historical Archive”

  1. Keith-TripleDeadHeat says:

    Such a worthwhile project. I've held onto so many DRFs and programs from favourite races over the years and still flip their pages often.

    Thanks for bring this project to light. Great winter reading ahead!

  2. Becky Ryder says:

    thank you for such a thoughtful review. I'm glad to hear that you are finding valuable material for your research. We have LOTS more content already filmed/scanned. It's the "digital cooking" that is slow, but it's the process that makes it possible to search by headlines, bylines, past performances, other charts, etc. I think those features really add value and make for more precise searching. I particularly think the ability to search by past performances really enriches the archive. Any thought?