COLONIAL DOWNS ON THE DRF PROBLEM

Colonial Downs’ president Ian Steward sent this along after reading the post earlier in the week about the lack of Daily Racing Forms at Colonial Downs.

I read with interest your comments on the Daily Racing Form (“DRF”). The DRF has been a challenge for Colonial Downs for many years. The problem is logistical. The DRF is printed in New York and then placed on a bus to Washington DC. In Washington, the DRF is transferred to another bus for delivery in Richmond. Attached is an email from a DRF executive earlier this year that details the problem with this method much more eloquently than I can.

From: Daily Racing Form 1957351
To: Greyhound Package Express

You’re killing me and my customers with your absolutely horrid service out of the DC terminal. On a daily basis we ship two shipments from the DC terminal one to Richmond VA the other to Tri State Racetrack in WVA. These shipments should go out 7 days a week.

We make the delivery to the terminal and 5 days out of 7 they never make it to their destination on time, if at all. My driver that makes the delivery to the DC terminal has on numerous occasions found the previous days shipment in the same spot where he dropped it the day before. He has told your people at the terminal of this and basically they don’t give a damn!

DRF is not a nickel and dime customer, we use Greyhound extensively in the Mid West and Florida.

It has come to the point where my customers think that DRF is the problem…we’re not, it’s Greyhound that can not manage daily shipments out of the DC terminal.
In the past 30 days you have missed the WVA shipment 22 times!

Several years ago we suggested to the DRF that they send us the DRF electronically and we would print it here. They were not interested in pursuing that idea.

I believe that consistency for our customers is important. The DRF’s delivery method is very unreliable. Our customers became very frustrated because they would never know from day to day whether the DRF would be there. Therefore, we stopped attempting to receive the DRF by bus and instead we invested in kiosks at each of our OTBs and the track which print the DRF past performances as well as other handicapping information. However, they do not print the articles. The kiosks are very reliable and never miss the bus.

I am sure someone will ask why we don’t have a delivery system that picks the DRF up at the bus station in Washington. We are very familiar with this as for several years we attempted to move the DRF from the Richmond bus station to our OTBs around the state using a courier service. This truly is cost prohibitive. While some may believe we should spare no expense to provide the DRF to those that want it, the delivered cost of the DRF approaches $15 per copy just to move it from Washington to Richmond. Given that I do not believe we could pass this additional cost along to the customer, at our profit margins it means that it takes the first $110 of handle just to pay for the additional delivery cost.

This doesn’t make sense.

As an aside, we did try to bring in a few DRFs for Virginia Derby Day and I believe they are still somewhere out on I-95. I recognize that the DRF is very important to some customers. We have not been able to find a consistent, reliable and reasonably cost effective delivery method to provide it. We are certainly open to suggestions. In the mean time, the kiosks provide a very reliable source for the DRF past performances. – Ian Stewart.

In a recent follow-up conversation, Colonial Downs’ management team is trying to find a way to skin this cat on Turf Cup day and Virginia Derby day.