Wagering on U.S. Harness Races Up 6% in 2013

More than $1.6 billion was bet on U.S. harness races last year, the USTA reported.

Wagering on harness races in the United States increased 6.07% in 2013, while purses paid were up 4%, according to statistics released Jan. 6 by the United States Trotting Association.

Total U.S. and Canadian common-pool pari-mutuel handle on U.S. harness races was $1,604,039,996, according to data compiled by United Tote. That's up from $1,512,192,007 in 2012.

Purses totaled $421,890,322 in 2013 versus $405,657,174 in 2012, the USTA reported.

U.S. harness race datesindividual programs at each trackincreased 0.31% to 3,880 from 3,868 the previous year. Per-race average handle was $38,469, up 3.03% from $37,337 in 2012; handle per race day increased 5.75% to $413,412 from $390,949.

Based on figures released by New Meadowlands, the New Jersey racetrack accounted for $55 million of the overall $91 million gain in harness handle in 2013.

The Ohio-based USTA last year began publishing daily total handle figures for U.S. harness racing.

Worldwide commingled handle on U.S. Thoroughbred races last year increased 0.06% to $10.88 billion from the previous year, according to figures released earlier by Equibase.