Here Comes Daily Fantasy for Horse Racing

Remember way back when (maybe 2-3 years ago) when the only fantasy sports that anyone would play was the yearly fantasy football league that you have with your friends, family and/or co-workers? Maybe a basketball and/or baseball league thrown in there. But then a magical little thing happened, something called Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) came to be.

For me personally, DFS has opened up a new realm of possibilities. Without DFS, I would not have ever figured out why I truly enjoy watching things such as College Football and College Basketball (R.I.P to them). Or even more, obscure fantasy sports in MMA, Nascar, PGA Golf, and yes, even eSports.

I recently stumbled upon another sport that I did not know until now had its own fantasy sport connected to it, and that is daily fantasy horse racing. Horse Racing has long been a traditional sport to bet on. I know several people myself who will still go to the local horse racing track to have some fun betting on the ponies, per say. Of course, taking bets on horse racing has evolved over time as well.

Don’t feel like going to the racetrack to bet? No problem! Betting sites everywhere are more than happy to accommodate you. But wait! What happens when the U.S government steps in and says that you can’t spend your hard earned money betting on the horses? “What do I do now?” You ask yourself.

An up and coming company appropriately named Derby Wars has the solution for you. They are the premier destination for anyone and everyone to get their fantasy sports fix on while getting some good action on their coveted horse races.

It would seem necessary to share this tidbit of news with you before going full in of the site review. On December 3rd, 2015, ESPN published an article stating that the racetracks that are owned by the Stronach group were suing the site. This Canadian company, which owns racetracks such as Santa Anita Park, Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness, as well as Gulfstream Park is suing the company for claims of “unlawful operating” on their racetracks. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California. The entirety of ESPN’s article on the matter can be read here.

Personally, I do not like when situations like there occur, especially in the fantasy sports industry. Fantasy sports make obscure sports to the common man, such as myself, fun and enjoyable. On any typical day, I would not watch a horse race. Why? Because I do not have reason to watch it without any kind of financial proposition. The same goes for many college sports events. Recently, the NCAA had ordered the shutdown of all college sports money contests. Not realizing what the ramifications would become.

If it weren’t for DFS college football, there would be no reason for me to watch a mess of a game between Toledo and Ball State for example. It always confuses me as to why sports leagues do not see the correlation between sports betting/fantasy sports for money, and the increase in their profits. Oh well, I guess we should just let the almighty dollar speak for itself then.

Now that I have finished my little rant, let’s get to the real matter at hand here. And that is to give you guys a thorough review of the daily fantasy sports product of horse racing, brought to us by Derby Wars.

Forever and always, I will support new fantasy sports coming into the marketplace, always living or dying not by the law, but by what the consumer wants and does not want. On the popular DFS site RotoGrinder, I have long seen on the forums that there is a demand for such a product like what Derby Wars offers in the industry. Which is why Derby Wars makes a ton of sense, but only on paper.

I say only on paper because I do not believe that Derby Wars is doing a lot to attract new players, as well as keep those new players. Now not everything is at the fault of the site. People like to watch what they put their money on, it is only natural to us. For example, if I put a $100 bet on the Golden State Warriors to cover a 10 point spread, I am going to do everything in my power to watch, or at least, keep track of the game. Whether this is accomplished by watching the game on TV, or following the game on my phone it will get done.

This is something that the horse racing industry cannot solve as easily. The races are not always on TV, and when you go online, the race results are not immediate and up to date quickly enough. Something we as humans now crave in our microwave style society of everything needing to get done immediately. But again, this is of no fault of Derby Wars.

Something that is of the fault of the site though is the lack of new user friendliness. I say this for several reasons. First off, there are no free games to play, only paid contests. As someone who plays DFS daily, I expect there to be free games for a sport I have not tried before so that I can “try before I buy” for lack of a better term.

Another issue that I found rather intimidating for a new user like myself is that when I go to the “How to play” tab on the site, I see a video. Now if I stopped right there, you expect everything to be hunky-dory, but it’s not. The video is not viewable because it has been made private. How do you expect new players to want to play on your site if you are blocking their only way to learn your game for free.

Derby Wars is an excellent idea for a DFS site on paper. Being the only name in the industry that I can think of that offers the horse racing product. However, the site plagues itself with a lack of free games and a UI (user interface) that intimidates the average user. When Derby Wars is able to work out all of the kinks, they will be able to flourish. Especially when it comes to Triple Crown season.