Despite a decrease in wagering on this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), daily wagering at the recently concluded 38-day spring meet at Churchill Downs rose 5.4% from the same number of days a year ago, according to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.
KHRC statistics show pari-mutuel handle during the meet that ended June 30 averaged $10,969,837 this year, compared with a daily average $10,402,955 last year. If wagering on the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and May 5 Derby were excluded, the daily average handle of $5,179,265 would have been up 10.7% from he 2012 daily average of $4,677,664.
(Churchill Downs Inc. does not publicly report attendance and wagering numbers for the tracks it owns, except for special days. For Churchill Downs, those special days include the Derby and Oaks and the night racing cards held during the meet. Churchill and other CDI-owned tracks report handle to state regulators, and the spring meet totals and averages were obtained from the KHRC through an open records request.)
With the May 5 card impacted by inclement weather this year, Kentucky Derby all-sources wagering fell 1% to $184.6 million. Wagering on this year's Kentucky Oaks, however, was up 14.7% to $45.8 million.
Though wagering increased during the meet, average daily purses fell 3.1% from $549,579 a year ago to $532,228 in 2013, according to The Jockey Club Information Systems. Average runners per race rose slightly, from 7.74 in 2012 to 7.78 this year.