12/04/2016 4:11PM

Handle on U.S. races down 3 percent during October, November

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Total handle on U.S races in October and November this year was down 3 percent compared with wagering during the same two months last year, according to comparisons based in part on figures distributed Sunday by Equibase.

Total handle for the two months was $1.627 billion, compared with $1.679 billion last year. Figures for the two months were combined by Daily Racing Form because the Breeders’ Cup was held over two days in November this year, whereas the event was held in October last year, making comparisons on a monthly basis inadequate.

Average handle per race over the two months this year was down 3.7 percent compared with the same figure for the two months last year, from $286,128 to $275,342.

On a November-to-November basis, handle on U.S. races was $837.5 million, up 18.2 percent over last year’s November figure. The October figure was down 18.5 percent due to the difference in the scheduling for the Breeders’ Cup. Purses distributed during the month were $101.4 million, up 25.4 percent over last year.

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The number of races held during the month was up 4.5 percent, from 2,668 last year to 2,788 this year. The number of races held at U.S. racetracks had been on a steady month-to-month decline for most of the past three years. This year’s November did not have any major weather disruptions.

Field size during the month declined slightly, from 8.43 to 8.29, according to Equibase.

For the first 11 months of the year, total handle on U.S. races is up 0.4 percent, while purses are down 1.3 percent. Races are down 1.8 percent, while field size is down slightly less than 1 percent, from 7.80 last year to 7.76 this year.

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