Handle, purses up slightly for first nine months of 2017

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Oct. 5, 2017

Commingled pari-mutuel handle on United States Thoroughbred racing was up 1.39% for the first nine months of 2017 compared with the same period last year, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase Oct. 4. Purses were up by a smaller percentage.

Wagering on U.S. races for the third quarter—Equibase now releases quarterly rather than monthly handle reports—was up 3.67% compared with the third quarter of 2016. Three-month handle was $2,948,806,926 versus $2,844,325,919 for the same period last year.

Purses for the third quarter dropped 0.60% to $326,838,479, U.S. race days were down 2.05% to 1,478, and average purses per race day increased 1.49% to $221,136.

Through Sept. 30, wagering totaled $8,505,157,017, according to the Equibase data, while purses were up 0.49% to $823,544,224 compared with the first nine months of 2016. Average field size this year was down 1.11% to 7.59 horses per race, but average wagering per race day increased 3.18% to $2,348,842, up from $2,276,458 last year.