Despite strong handle for the spring’s first two classics, wagering on U.S. racing in May was nearly identical to the same month a year ago, according to the latest economic indicators from Equibase.
Wagering last month totaled $1,159,360,490, down 0.34% from the $1,163,300,163 figure for May 2011. Churchill Downs reported pari-mutuel handle on the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) day card was up 13.2% to a record $187 million, compared with the previous high of $165.2 million in 2011.
The Maryland Jockey Club reported all-sources handle of $80,463,005 for the May 19 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) card at Pimlico. The figure was the sixth-highest for Pimlico’s signature day.
Equibase reported U.S. purses rose 7.55% during May to $103,302,505 when compared with the May 2011 figure of $96,052,126 and the 523 race days represented a 2.75% gain over the 509 a year ago.
For the first five months of 2012, U.S. wagering totaled $4,708,541,276, up 1.5% from the $4,639,134,355 wagered through May 2011, with a 7.1% increase in purses from $385,651,677 to $413,049,897. The 1,939 race days through the first five months of 2012 were identical to the 2011 total.