Anne M. Eberhardt

Handle Down, But Purses Up in September

U.S. Pari-mutuel handle continued to decline, but there was an increase in purses.

For the month of September, pari-mutuel handle continued to decline, but a considerable increase in purses provided a silver lining, according to the latest Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase.

Wagering on United States races in September totaled $744,455,017, down 6.3% from $826,554,417 in September 2010, Equibase reported. U.S. purses totaled $94,537,675, however, up 6.82% from $88,504,666 last September.

The number of race days—individual programs at each track—increased 3.25% to 493 from 477.

In August 2011, handle was down 12.3% from August 2010, while purses also saw a decline of 7.7% from the previous year.

Through the first nine months of 2011, wagering on U.S. races stood at $8,281,890,973, down 7.57% from $8,960,132,892. Purses of $783,970,183, however, were up 0.60% from $779,316,518 and have a chance to finish in the “black” this year.

The number of U.S. race days through September 2011 is 4,089, down 5.24% from 4,315 for the same period last year.