Equibase Takes Step to Curtail Theft of Data

Edited press release

In an effort to curtail data theft, Equibase has reconstituted its electronic race results charts in a secure Portable Document Format.

PDF is the published specification used around the world for more secure, reliable electronic document distribution and exchange.

"The switch to secure PDF race result charts is the latest action we have taken to protect our data from theft," Phil O'Hara, president and chief executive officer of Equibase, said in a release. "The redesigned race result charts make it more difficult for data thieves to use computer programs that 'scrape' information off our Web pages and then re-publish Equibase data on other sites. In a test earlier this year, we changed one data element in one of our data distribution channels and found 18 offshore bookmakers had published the data on their Web sites.

"Obviously those entities are not licensed to use Equibase data, and that's when we knew we had to take additional steps to increase security."

Result charts from the preceding seven days are still provided as a free service on equibase.com in the new printer-friendly format. In addition to security improvements, the PDF format has enabled enhancements to the race result charts available through ChartPlus, a premium race result charts service.

ChartPlus now offers official Equibase speed figures; a running line preview of each horse's race as it will appear the next time it's entered; brief comments on each running line; split times between each fractional time; the date, track, race number, and finish position for each horse's previous race; full jockey names; and expanded race headers that include the track record time for the distance.

"ChartPlus significantly enhances the information that is available to handicappers, fans and other industry participants," Equibase product development manager David O'Neill said in the release. "Essentially, we've redesigned the entire chart around their needs by adding new and valuable information, such as the official Equibase speed figure for each horse, split times, and a running line preview. The chart is also easier to read as a result of the PDF format and superscripted margins in the running lines."