Thoroughbred Purses, Handle Increase in 2006

Edited press release

Purses and handle on Thoroughbred racing in the United States increased 3.3% and 1.5%, respectively, in 2006, according to the year-end “Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators.”

Wagering on U.S. races--the figure includes worldwide commingled pools and some separate pools in Canada--total $14,780,450,552 last year, up from $14,561,295,128 in 2005. Purses totaled $1,116,423,912, up from $1,080,800,585. The number of U.S. race days (the total number of programs at all tracks) was 6,219, down 0.88% from 6,274.

Figures for the fourth quarter of 2006 also were up primarily because of business increases at Hollywood Park in California and the reopening of Fair Grounds in Louisiana. Because of hurricane damage, Fair Grounds didn’t race from Thanksgiving through the end of 2005; the replacement meet at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs didn’t begin until January 2006.

Handle on U.S. Thoroughbred races in the fourth quarter of 2006 totaled $3,342,277,329, up 2.7% from $3,254,675,968 in 2005. Purses jumped 5.8%, from $260,051,808 to $275,342,054. The number of race days was 1,330, down 0.60% from 1,338.

The figures are released quarterly by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Equibase.