U.S. handle, purses up slightly first six months of 2017

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: July 6, 2017

Solid wagering in June put pari-mutuel handle on United States Thoroughbred racing for the first six months of the year at $5.556 billion, up less than 1% from the first six months of 2016, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase July 6.

Total commingled handle for June was $932.5 million, up 3.9% from $897.3 million for June 2016. There were 14 fewer race days (488 this June), and average wagering per race day increased 6.9% to $1.9 million from $1.7 million in 2016.

U.S. purses for June, however, fell 3.8% to $98.6 million from $102.5 million a year ago. The number of races was down 3% to 3,866 from 3,986, according to the Equibase statistics.

Average field size was steady at 7.39 horses per race, down 0.19% from 7.41.

For the first six months of 2017, purses were up 1.2% to $496.6 million versus $490.7 million for the comparable period in 2016. The number of U.S. races was 17,861, down 1.2% from 18,079 a year ago.