10/10/2007 12:00AM

Betting, purses rise in quarter

EmailTotal betting and purses in the United States and Canada rose in the third quarter of 2007 despite a slight decline in the number of racing days, according to figures released by Equibase and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association on Wednesday.

Handle rose 0.9 percent to $3.878 billion, and purses rose 6.11 percent, or $21.4 million, to

$359 million, according to the figures. In the third quarter, a new Pennsylvania racetrack, Presque Isle Downs, ran its inaugural 25-day race meet, with slot-machine revenues boosting purses to $432,000 a day, or $10.8 million. In addition, Saratoga increased its purses by 16.7 percent during the quarter, or about $4 million in total.

Race days in the quarter were down 0.9 percent, from 1,959 to 1,941, according to the figures.

Wagering and purses have been up this year by marginal amounts in the second and third quarters. Wagering and purses declined slightly in the first quarter.