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."