Thank you, BRIS

A couple of days ago, this came across the old Twitter wire from o_crunk:

Never did sign up for Bris. Now they’re offering free .pdf charts all the way
back to 1991. Mr/Mrs Pls tear down this USER/PASS wall.

Free charts? For almost 20 years? Too good to be true. Can’t be true. What’s the catch?

So off I go to BRIS, and there it is:

New Price…FREE!!! ARCHIVE RESULT CHARTS at Brisnet.com – Full PDF Race Charts including conditions, weather, values, payoffs, pedigree, exotics, full summary, owners, trainers, breeders, and race notes dating back to January, 1991.

A quick and subsequent Twitter conversation revealed that for people like me, who already have an account with BRIS, there is no catch. Log on, and you can search the charts by track or by date. In a perfect world, we could also search by horse name, but even without that capability, having this information available for free is exactly what I’ve been asking for for years. It’s practically nirvana.

Dana Byerly of Green but Game, who tweets as superterrific, quickly found what a flaw: if you don’t already have a BRIS account, you have to open one in order to access the free charts. And in order to open an account, you’ve got to provide your social security number and a credit card number. And any thinking person will pause at that, and possibly turn away–it seems a lot to ask for that level of personal information in order to access a free service.

But this is still a major step forward for historians, archivists, fans, and gamblers. Earlier this summer, I wrote in the Saratogian,

Want to know the Mets’ 1978 roster? One search term, one click gets you there.
Want to know who won the 7th at Belmont on Oct. 11, 1985? Good luck.

I still can’t find out who won that race, but thanks to this new, FREE (yippee!) resource, at least I can find out who won any race at any track on any day in the last eighteen years. And that is a huge step forward. Bravo, BRIS!

6 thoughts on “Thank you, BRIS

  1. I wouldn't mind providing the credit card but I'd hesitate to give them my SSN. I guess they would need it for tax reporting?

  2. Thanks but no thanks. I'm a DRF loyalist and find them the only source I need. They don't need anyone's SS & CC#'s to set up a free account.

  3. Just got an email (and verified) that Equibase is now offering FREE historical charts back to January 1, 1999. Wow! Did someone say something that actually evoked change?!? FREE information?!? What a concept! 🙂

  4. Saw the link to the free post-1999 Equibase charts on the NYRA web site. Good idea, of course. Maybe it's the first step in a radical revision of racing pricing. Perhaps 10% takeout is next?

  5. Linda: that would be the argument, but if you're accessing only free information and not betting, they wouldn't need it. Why not wait to ask for it until you've wagered? Ernie: I was waiting for the circumcision joke.BSaint: Does DRF offer free charts going back that far? Val: I heard that last night, too–haven't checked them out yet. Steve: BRIS will still offer nearly a decade more free charts than Equibase, but as I wrote to someone yesterday, "The revolution is beginning!" We can only hope.

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