Purses Spike in First Quarter of 2017

Purses Spike in First Quarter of 2017
Photo: Gulfstream Park
The Pegasus statue at Gulfstream Park; the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) added a chunk of purse money in the first quarter of 2017

The first edition of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) and some additional race days in the first quarter of 2017 helped purses surge nearly 8% in the first three months of the year.

According to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released April 5 by Equibase, purses improved 7.76% to $212,670,977 in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same three months of 2016.

In January, Gulfstream Park hosted the inaugural $12 million Pegasus, which replaced the $500,000 Donn Handicap (G1) on the South Florida track's schedule--an $11.5 million purse increase. But that increase does not completely account for the $15.32 million increase in purses in the first quarter compared with 2016.

Purses in the first quarter also were helped by a 3.78% increase in race days to 879 and a 3.68% increase in races to 7,550. Average purses per race day improved 3.84% to $241,947.

While the addition of the Pegasus and added race days helped improve purses, wagering on U.S. races still declined in the quarter, off 1.04% to $2,472,799,741.
 

Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators

1st QTR 2017 vs. 1st QTR 2016

Indicator

1st QTR 2017

1st QTR 2016

% Change

Wagering on U.S. Races*

$2,472,799,741

$2,498,809,887

-1.04%

U.S. Purses

$212,670,977

$197,348,259

+7.76%

U.S. Race Days

879

847

+3.78%

U.S. Races

7,550

7,282

+3.68%

U.S. Starts

59,261

59,628

-0.62%

Average Field Size

7.85

8.19

-4.14%

Average Wagering Per Race Day

$2,813,197

$2,950,189

-4.64%

Average Purses Per Race Day

$241,947

$232,997

+3.84%

* Includes worldwide commingled wagering on U.S. races.

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