02/01/2017 4:36PM

Equibase to release handle figures quarterly instead of monthly

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Equibase Co., the racing industry’s official data collector and supplier, will no longer release handle and purse figures on a monthly basis, the company said on Wednesday, citing “significant fluctuations” in the data when comparing the figures on a year-to-year basis.

Instead, Equibase will release the figures quarterly, the company said. In addition to purse and handle figures, the Equibase data include number of races, race days, and starts at U.S. tracks, along with average field size.

“Significant fluctuations in handle year over year as a result of the number of weekend days per month and the dates of some of racing’s big events and prominent races have made comparisons difficult,” said Jason Wilson, Equibase’s president and chief operating officer, in a release. “Quarterly numbers diminish those fluctuations and should make comparisons more meaningful.”

Most notably, in the past three years, the two-day Breeders’ Cup event has been held entirely in October, entirely in November, and split over the last day in October and the first day in November. Those fluctuations have created problems in comparing the monthly numbers year-to-year, and DRF has relied on figures for both months over that timeframe to compare handle and purse data, given the wide swings in the compared figures.

Equibase has been releasing the figures on a monthly basis for approximately seven years, following a precipitous decline in overall annual wagering beginning in 2008. The annual figures have stabilized in recent years, but the monthly figures are often targeted by critics of the year-to-year comparisons, citing a wide range of short-term factors such as the number of weekend dates in each month and either abnormally good or bad weather conditions.