Courtney V. Bearse

Aided by Cup, October Handle, Purses Increase

Wagering up more than 17% according to Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators.

Aided by more than $150 million in pari-mutuel handle for the two-day Breeders' Cup, commingled wagering on United States races in October was up 17.7% compared with the same month in 2014.

This year's Breeders' Cup at Keeneland was held Oct. 30-31. Last year at Santa Anita Park, the dates were Oct. 31-Nov. 1. Total wagering on the Friday program in 2014 was $47,666,982.

According to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released by Equibase Nov. 4, total handle for October was $970,337,732, up from $824,351,544 in October 2014. With roughly $25 million in purses offered for Breeders' Cup, U.S. purses in October totaled $123,177,590, up 17.6% from $104,745,793 last year.

Through the first 10 months of this year, total handle is up 2.4% to $9,274,266,245 from $9,057,222,435 for the same period last year. Purses are up 0.37% to $954,713,286 from $951,205,410.

At this point last year, handle was down 2% and purses down 0.29% from the first 10 months of 2013.

In October there were 380 race days, 34 fewer (down 8.2%) than last October, while the number of U.S. races dropped 8.5% to 3,180 from 3,477. The number of starts in October was 26,250, down 7.4% from 28,351 last year.

Year-to-date figures for 2015 show there have been 10,031 fewer starts compared with the first 10 months of 2014. The number of races dropped 5.4%, from 35,839 to 33,909, and the number of race days fell 3.9%, from 4,328 to 4,158.