Sunday, October 4, 2009

Handle level in September, though purses plummet


A few extra days of racing in September helped handle on Thoroughbred racing in the U.S. remain level with last year, the best month-to-month comparison so far this year.

U.S. Thoroughbred racing handled $883,382,038 during 546 days in September 2009 compared with $891,007,745 on 543 days in September ’08. The handle decrease of less than 1% marks the smallest decrease in handle during any month in 2009 and is a strong reversal after handle declined by at least 8.2% in year-to-year comparisons in each of the previous seven months. Handle was down 1.6% in January compared with January ‘08

Handle during the three months ended September 30, which traditionally includes two of the U.S.’s most prestigious meets in Saratoga Race Course and Del Mar, dropped 9.8% to $3,147,616,047. Annual handle has declined 10.2% to $9,654,618,788 for the nine months ended September 30.

Purses were off even more than handle in September, as average daily handle for the 546 race dates was $178,626, down 6.6% from $191,263 during the 543 race dates last year. The total was down 6.1% to $97,530,050.