Handle, Purses, Race Days Decline in February

Through the first two months of 2013, all three economic indicators are down.

Pari-mutuel wagering, purses, and race days all declined in February compared with the same month in 2012, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase March 4.

The number of United States race days–individual programs at each track–was 296 in February versus 332 the previous February. That's a loss of 36 full programs, or a 10.84% drop; clearly it impacted the other economic indicators.

Seven racing programs and half of another were canceled because of weather or track conditions in February, according to Equibase.

Commingled handle on U.S. races worldwide totaled $826,309,986, down 6.56% from $884,305,144 in 2012. U.S. purses, which generally have been up year over year, fell 6.68% in February to $66,230,756 from $70,974,215 last year.

Through the first two months of 2013, wagering is down 4.37%, from $1,703,381,572 in the first two months of 2012 to $1,628,947,204; purses are off 3.26%, from $136,803,180 to $132,339,562; and race days declined 9.12%, from 647 to 588.