Anne M. Eberhardt

Total Wagering Down Slightly in August

Purses in August 2014 were up 0.94% to $124,720,020 compared with August 2013.

While the amount of money wagered on each U.S. race increased in August, a decline in the number of races offered proved too steep a hurdle as total wagering declined 0.37% compared with August 2013.

According to Thoroughbred racing economic indicators released Sept. 4 by Equibase, total pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. races in August was $1,140,783,727, down about $4.26 million when compared with August last year. The trend this month, which features top meetings at Saratoga Race Course and Del Mar, matches the trend this year that has seen wagering-per-race increase but total numbers fall, in part, because of that reduction in races.

Total wagering on U.S. races this year is down 1.72% to $7.54 billion. Wagering per race is up 2.2% this year to $263,177, but a 3.76% reduction in total races to 28,656 has contributed to the overall decline in total wagering.

Total purses also have been impacted by the decline in races. For the year through August, purses are down 0.94% to $741,708,215 when compared with the first eight months of 2013. Purses in August 2014 were up 0.94% to $124,720,020 when compared with August 2013.

Despite the reduction in races, starters per race through the first eight months this year are down 2.8%. This year has seen an average of 7.54 starters per race compared with 7.76 last year.