Handle lags, purses up through third quarter of 2019

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Oct. 6, 2019

Commingled pari-mutuel handle on United States races was down 2.78% for the first nine months of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018, while U.S. purses were up 5.25%, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase.

For September alone, wagering was down 6.20% on 144 fewer races, while purses increased 1.64% from September 2018.

Year-to-date statistics show total wagering at $8,596,390,581 versus $8,841,839,027 for the first nine months of this year. Purses totaled $893,820,785 compared with $849,196,602 a year ago, while the number of races dropped 0.35% from 28,653 in 2018 to 28,553.

Average wagering per race for the first nine months of 2019 came in at $301,067, down 2.43% from $308,583 for the same period in 2018. Average purses per race day increased 4.69% from $242,905 to $254,288 year over year.

Field size continued to steadily decline. Through the third quarter of 2018 it averaged 7.53; for the same period this year it was 7.39.