Economic Indicators: Good News and Bad News

Economic Indicators: Good News and Bad News
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

There was good news and bad news March 4 when Equibase released its monthly report on Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators.

The good news was that purses rose 9.39% (from $56,963,585 to $62,311,694) and the number of U.S. race days were up 4.7% (from 298 to 312) during February when compared with the same month a year ago. Those numbers represented a drastic turnaround for the same categories a year ago. In February 2010, the number of race days—individual programs at each track—fell 16.99% from 2009, leading to a monthly purse decline of 13.43%.

The bad news for February 2011 was that wagering continued to fall, but even that area showed improvement over the declines seen in February 2010. Equibase reported a total of $821,753,648 wagered on U.S. races during the month, which was down 5.5% from February 2010. One year ago, handle fell 13% during the shortest month when compared with 2009.

Cumulatively, through the first two months of this year, purses are up 4.85% (from $120,537,629 to $126,380,351), pari-mutuel wagering is down 7.66% (from $1,786,604,094 in 2009 to $1,649,701,322), and the number of race days remained relatively static (644 to 642).
 

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