Cancellations Cause Handle, Purse Dips

Cancellations Cause Handle, Purse Dips
The NTRA and Equibase reported declines in handle and purses for the first quarter of 2008.

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Equibase Company April 21 released the "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" for North American pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. Thoroughbred racing during the first quarter of 2008, as well as for U.S. purses and race days, with prior-year, first-quarter comparisons.

Due in part to surface-related cancellations at Santa Anita Park in January and weather-related cancellations at several racetracks during March, pari-mutuel handle decreased 3.31% in year-over-year, first quarter comparisons. Total purses declined by 1.47% during the same period.

"Our first-quarter numbers were negatively impacted by lost dates at Santa Anita and other venues," said Alex Waldrop, president and CEO of the NTRA.

"This, in conjunction with a difficult economy, made for a challenging year-over-year quarterly comparison. We are optimistic, however, that nicer weather and a competitive Triple Crown season will result in improved business figures during the next three months."

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