Handle up, race days and purses down in September

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Oct. 10, 2016

Wagering on U.S. Thoroughbred races in September increased 2.43% from the same month a year ago, but purses dropped 6.49% despite an additional 14 racing dates.

According to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase, pari-mutuel handle on U.S. races totaled $795.02 million compared with $776.14 million in September 2015. There were 457 race days–individual programs at each track–versus 443 a year ago.

Purses totaled $104.91 million in September, down from $112.19 million in 2015; the daily average for all U.S. races fell 9.35% to $229,578 from $253,260. The number of horses per race dropped 2.61% to 7.62 from 7.83 last September.

For the first nine months of 2016, total handle ($8.39 billion) remained up 1.09% from the same period in 2015, when it was $8.29 billion. Average wagering per racing program was up 3.64% to $2.27 million from January through September.

Purses totaled $819.50 million, down 1.45%, for the first 10 months of this year, while race days, races and starts all dropped more than 2%.

(Photo by Tom LaMarra)