U.S. handle flat, purses down with month to go in 2016

Posted: Dec. 5, 2016

As expected, total commingled wagering on United States Thoroughbred races rebounded in November because of how the Breeders’ Cup World Championships fell on the calendar, and with one month to go in 2016, handle is up less than 1% versus 2015.

According to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase, wagering on U.S. races in November totaled $837,482,583, up 18.2% from $708,461,433 in November 2015. Common-pool betting of more than $159 million on this year’s two-day Breeders’ Cup Nov. 4-5 at Santa Anita Park accounted for about one-fifth of total November handle.

Again because of Breeders’ Cup, U.S. purses in November were up 25.1% to $101,397,876 compared with $81,028,870 for the same month last year. The number of Thoroughbred starts was 23,106 this November, up 2.7% from 22,503 in November 2015.

For the first 11 months of 2016, U.S. handle totaled $10,017,659,790, up 0.40% from $9,978,013,304 last year. Purses of $1,022,816,865 through November are up 1.3% from the same period last year with 1.8% fewer race days (4,391).

The average number of horses per race so far this year remains under eight at 7.76; through November 2015 the figure was 7.80.

(Image from iStock)