Michael Burns

U.S. Wagering Up Less Than 1% for May

Purses, however, rose 8% from last May, according to Equibase statistics.

Though boosted by major racing days May 2-3 and a fifth Saturday in the month, worldwide commingled wagering on United States Thoroughbred races increased only 0.92% for May versus the same month in 2013.

According to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators issued June 4 by Equibase, pari-mutuel handle totaled $1,211,786,462 in May versus $1,200,784,323 last year. The figures for both years include the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Kentucky Oaks (both gr. I) programs; in May 2013 there were four Saturdays.

U.S. purses for Thoroughbred racing jumped 8.02% to $112,355,667 versus $104,009,718 last year, while the number of race days–individual programs at each track–increased 2.54% from 511 in May 2013 to 524 this year.

Purses in May were 9.27% of total handle, though prize money includes substantial non-pari-mutuel revenue from gaming.

For the first five months of 2014, wagering on U.S. races is down 2.05% from $4,677,831,556 last year to $4,582,091,932. Purses are up 0.68% ($406,983,347 versus $404,244,768 in 2013) and race days are down 0.70% (1,866 in 2013 compared with 1,853 in 2014).