U.S. handle up slightly in June despite 36% drop in number of races

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: July 6, 2020

Commingled pari-mutuel handle on United States Thoroughbred races totaled $998.44 million, up 0.76% from June 2019 despite almost 1,500 fewer races year over year, according to the latest Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase July 6.

Meanwhile, for the first six months of 2020, total handle was $5.05 billion, down 10.88% from the same period in 2019. The number races came in at 10,906, a drop of 37.53% from January through June 2029.

The June figures are tied to multiple racetrack re-openings after widespread COVID-19 shutdowns. Purses for June, however, were down 39.70% from $115.19 million in 2019 to $69.46 million last month.

So far in 2020, purses have totaled $324.15 million, down 40.41% from $544 million for the first six months of 2019.

Average wagering per race day—individual programs at each track—in June increased 67.60% to $3,32 million versus $1.98 million for the same month in 2019. For the first six months of 2020, the figure is up 44.12% (from $2.69 million to $3.88 million) from the first six months of 2019.

Average field size per race for the first six months of this year was 8.08, up 8.25% from 7.47 in 2019.