Total wagering on United States horseracing declined by 6% across North America during the first quarter of 2005, while purses and racing days also dipped, according to statistics released Feb. 8 by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.Officials attributed the decline to record rains in California and severe weather in the midwest and northeast. The "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" (TREI) statistics compare United States and Canadian pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. Thoroughbred racing in first-quarter 2005 – as well as U.S. purses and race days – with 2004 totals. In addition to the drop in wagering, purses fell 2.43% and race days were off 1.84%.Wagering at two of the nation's premier winter facilities, Santa Anita Park and Gulfstream Park, got off to a slow start in 2005. Heavy rains forced race-day cancellations at Santa Anita and other West Coast tracks. Gulfstream Park continues to undergo major construction. "It appears that January and February were the culprits here. Wagering levels returned to near-normal levels and race days increased one percent in March," said NTRA Commissioner D.G. Van Clief, Jr. "We'll be monitoring the numbers over the next few months to gain some additional perspective and look for any trends." Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators (First-Quarter 2005 versus 2004)Indicator/2005/2004/% Change
Wagering on U.S. Races/$3,314,341,688/$3,532,767,011/-6.03 U.S. Purses/$202,425,864/$207,465,310/-2.43U.S. Race Days/1,175/1,197/-1.84Statistics supplied by Equibase LLC.