Hurricane Sandy Impacts Economic Indicators

Pari-mutuel handle declined slightly, while purses rose during November.

Considering there were 13 fewer race days during the month of November compared to 2011 due to several track power outages in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, pari-mutuel handle was down slightly with purses showing a small increase, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released Dec. 5 by Equibase.

Hurricane Sandy, which hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast Oct. 28, had a significant effect on the Nov. 2-3 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park as some northeast tracks were unable to offer wagering on the races due to damage and power outages. The two-day wagering total of $144,272,332 was down 10.67% from the 2011 event held at Churchill Downs.

Equibase reported worldwide comingled wagering on United States races of $867,928,453, down less than 1% from $874,137,205 in November 2011. U.S. purses totaled $104,460,953, an increase of 2.55% from last November.
Meanwhile, the number of race daysindividual programs at each trackfell 3.32% from 392 last November to 379 this year.

The November 2012 figures reflect a solid turnaround from a year ago. Handle last November was down 7.2% from November 2010, purses were off 6.2%, and race days declined 7.89%.

For the first 11 months of 2012, handle on U.S. Thoroughbred races totaled $10,083,930,771, up 1.15% from $9,969,648,537 at this point last year. Purses through November were up 6.61% to $1,052,782,703 from $9,969,648,537 for the first 11 months of 2011, while U.S. race days of 4,975 so far this year are up slightly from 4,952 a year ago.