Anne M. Eberhardt

Wagering On U.S. Races Slips Slightly in June

Decline in national handle due to 7.53% decrease in total race days during month.

Wagering on races in the United States was slightly off in June compared with the same month in 2013 as handle nationally continued to lag for the year to date.

According to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators report issued July 4 by Equibase Co., pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. races, including worldwide commingled handle, totaled $927,690,766 last month. That compared to $931,813,455 in June 2013, reflecting a dip of 0.44%.

The figures are actually encouraging considering that the number of race daysindividual programs at each trackdeclined from 571 a year ago to 528, a 7.53% decrease for comparable months.

Purses for June, which accounted for 11.26% of total handle, were off by 4.44% overall. Purses in June amounted to $104,470,905 compared with $109,320,579 the previous year.

For the first half of 2014, wagering on U.S. races is down 1.71%, from $5,605,558,277 in 2013 compared with $5,509,479,831 this year. Total U.S. race days are down by 1.85% (2,386 compared with 2,431).

Purses are off marginally by 0.39% with a total of $513,352,260 paid out so far this year, compared with $515,383,347 at the midpoint of 2013.