Leo Waldman, who in the early 1950s founded the advertising departments of the Daily Racing Form and the Form's East Coast sister publication, The Morning Telegraph, died March 29 of natural causes at his home in Hewlett, Long Island, N.Y. He was 99.
Waldman, who worked at the Form for more than 50 years, also wrote the Form's weekly New York breeding column. He also contributed to a book about Hall of Fame trainer Max Hirsch.
As a sports writer for the New York Herald Tribune, the Brooklyn-born Waldman covered all sports but when asked to fill in as a horse racing reporter, he discovered a sport that fascinated him, according to freelance Turf writer Rab Hagin.
Waldman's love of racing led to a job at The Morning Telegraph, which at the time ran virtually no advertising. Spotting a potential opportunity, Waldman approached the Telegraph and Daily Racing Form management about selling advertising for those publications but was met with skepticism. The Telegraph and Form were circulation-driven, since they had a monopoly on the past performance format and carried a high sale price, but Waldman was told that if he wanted to give advertising sales a try, he could do so on straight commission. Eventually, he was making more money than the publisher, and a new arrangement was drawn up that put Waldman on a salary.
Waldman retired from the Form as advertising manager in 1990, but he continued to write the publication's New York breeding column for several more years and was consistently a strong advocate for the New York State Thoroughbred Breeding and Development Fund program. He owned at least two racehorses.
Waldman, who served as a stateside Army intelligence officer during World War II, is survived by his wife, Jacqueline, and daughter Robyn. A burial ceremony will be held March 31 at the Boulevard Riverside Chapel in Hewlett, with internment at the Beth-David Cemetery in Elmont, N.Y.