Wagering, Purses Have Healthy August

Handle on U.S. racing was up 4.69% from August 2012, according to Equibase.

Wagering on United States races was strong in August, with a 4.69% increase from the same month in 2012, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase Sept. 4.

The August bump put year-to-date wagering up 0.10% from the same eight months in 2012.

Pari-mutuel handle in August totaled $1,147,685,805, compared with $1,096,304,338 in 2012. The $51.3 million increase can be considered solid given the fact any increases have been hard to come by the last few years, though there were five Saturdays in August this year versus four in 2012.

The number of race-days–individual programs at each track–was up 1.04%, from 576 last August to 582 this year. This year, August had five Saturdays compared with just four Saturdays in August 2012.

U.S. purses, no doubt aided by the lucrative meets at Del Mar and Saratoga Race Course, increased 5.48% in August, from $117,103,024 last year to $123,525,791 this year. According to The Jockey Club Information Systems, average daily purses at Del Mar went from $606,366 in 2012 to $642,116 this year, and at Saratoga from $922,265 last year to $998,732 this year.

From January through August, worldwide commingled handle on U.S. races totaled $7,687,060,759, up a bit from $7,679,568,426 for the same period in 2012.

U.S. purses for the first eight months of 2013 totaled $746,904,675, down 0.07% from last year. Thus far this year there have been 3,564 race days, a drop of 2.68% (98 days) from 3,662 last year.