Andrew Beyer and Steven Crist will each receive the Eclipse Award of Merit for a lifetime of outstanding achievement in Thoroughbred racing, it was announced by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Thursday. The honors will be given out at the 46th Annual Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony Jan. 21 at Gulfstream Park.
Beyer, now semi-retired after nearly a 40-year-career as racing writer and columnist at The Washington Post, is an author of best-selling books on handicapping and the creator of the groundbreaking Beyer Speed Figures. Crist, who retired this year, was racing writer for The New York Times, a racetrack executive, and served as publisher of both The Racing Times and Daily Racing Form.
“I am thrilled to learn that Andy Beyer and Steve Crist have each been selected to receive the Eclipse Award of Merit,” said Charles Hayward, former president and CEO of both the Daily Racing Form and New York Racing Association. “Beyer and Crist shared a vision of the importance of advocating on behalf of the betting public. Their collective, sustained efforts in this area resulted in policy changes that have improved the interests of the wagering customers, which ultimately improves the entire racing industry.”
Beyer spent the bulk of his journalistic career covering racing for the Washington Post and became well-known as an advocate of the horseplayer, helping the Thoroughbred industry to enact improvements on behalf of the bettors who fuel much of the sport’s economics.
Beyer’s first book on handicapping, “Picking Winners,” in 1975, explained the basics of handicapping to the novice player, and became a nationwide bestseller. A significant part of the book was the introduction and explanation of speed figures as a breakthrough method in analyzing horses’ chances of a top performance. These figures would go on to spawn a handicapping industry.
“I am very gratified by it,” said Beyer upon learning of his Award. “I really believe that over the last 25 years, our speed figures have really changed the way the industry look at horses. I am proud of what we’ve done and that the industry has recognized us.”
Crist was the horse racing writer for The New York Times from 1981-1990 and the founding Editor-in-Chief of The Racing Times. In 1998, Crist was part of a group of investors that purchased Daily Racing Form, where he became the editor and publisher. He was a regular guest on the New York Racing Association (NYRA) replay cable programs, hosted by Harvey Pack, and also joined Pack in entertaining handicapping seminars at Siro’s restaurant in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Crist was appointed by New York Gov. Mario Cuomo as a member of a state advisory commission on racing, 1992-1994, where he was the catalyst for several reforms, the most important of which was the restructuring of “breakage” on straight wagers from 10 to five cents on the dollar, resulting in millions of dollars returned to bettors.
“I am genuinely touched and honored by this award, not only on my own behalf, but also for its recognizing the important role that journalists, publishers and handicappers play in Thoroughbred racing,” Crist said.