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Handle Down, But Decline Not as Severe

The decline in pari-mutuel handle isn't as severe as it was this time last year.

Total pari-mutuel handle on United States racing through September 2010 was about $700 million behind the figure for the same period in 2009, according to the latest Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators.

At this point last year, handle for the first nine months totaled $9,655,429,161, down 10.22% from the same period in 2008. For the first nine months of 2010, handle totaled $8,959,857,594, down 7.2% from 2009. Based on the numbers provided by Equibase, it appears the decline has slowed year-to-year.

U.S. purses through September totaled $779,128,677, down 5.65% from $825,813,582 for the same period in 2009. U.S. race days—individual programs at each track—totaled 4,315, down 7.4% from the first nine months of 2009.

That’s a difference of more than 300 race days, a drop that has contributed to the handle decrease.

For September, handle totaled $826,682,015, down 6.43% from $883,485,100 in September 2009. Race days declined 12.48%, from 545 last September to 477 this September.

September purses came in at $88,498,470, down 9.26% from $97,529,900 in 2009.