07/05/2012 2:02PM

Handle, purses, racing dates increase in June


LEXINGTON, Ky. – Wagering, purses, and race days in the United States all rose in June, contributing to increases in those categories for the year to date, as well.

The Equibase Company released data Thursday showing that wagering on U.S. races climbed 7 percent in June 2012, as compared to June 2011, from $886,892,710 last year to $948,859,061. Purses also gained 13 percent, rising from last year’s $96,823,566 to $109,507,231. And race days also increased 10 percent, from 542 in June 2011 to 595 this year.

Those economic indicators also remained on a slight upward trend for the year. Through June, this year’s wagering on U.S. races was $5,657,286,019, up 2 percent from last year’s $5,526,027,065, while purses were ahead by 8 percent, or $522,557,128 versus last season’s $482,475,243. There were 2 percent more race days, or 2,528, through June 2012 than in the same time frame last year, when there were 2,481.

The figures for wagering on U.S. races include worldwide commingled wagering. Gaming revenue has contributed to the significant boost in U.S. purses.

Handle on U.S. races slipped by less than 1 percent in May, even with a record $133 million wagered on the Kentucky Derby won by I’ll Have Another, but purses rose by 8 percent that month, too.