Handle, Purses Down; Some Improvement Seen

Handle and purses in March were down but showed some recovery from February.

Wagering on United States races was down 10.35% for the first three months of 2010 when compared with the same period a year ago, but handle in March rebounded considerably from a month earlier.

According to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released April 5 by Equibase, handle in March totaled $998,775,323, down 6.21% from $1,064,949,906 in March 2009. February 2010 handle was $869,807,865, down 13% from the same month in 2009, in part because of a reduction in race days.

U.S. purses in March totaled $73,765,513, down 7.2% from a year ago, while race days—individual programs at each track—totaled 404, down 3.58% from 419 a year ago.

Handle and purses have been down double-digits year over year most months.

Though March race days were down slightly when compared with a year earlier, they increased dramatically from 298 in February. Several tracks began their live meets in March, and a few added days.

Through the first three months of 2010, wagering on U.S. races totaled $2,785,666,783 versus $3,107,287,267 for the first three months of 2009. Purses totaled $194,300,126, down 10.03% from $215,954,543, while race days totaled 1,048, down 9.19% from 1,154.