11/04/2015 2:16PM

October handle up, but Breeders' Cup skews comparison


Betting on Thoroughbred races at U.S. tracks was $970.3 million in October, according to figures released by Equibase on Wednesday, but a comparison to the same figure from last October is invalid because of the scheduling of the Breeders’ Cup.

This year, the two-day Breeders’ Cup event was held Oct. 30-31, while last year, the event was held Oct. 31 to Nov. 1. As a result, the October figures this year are upwardly skewed compared with last year.

Still, handle during the month was up a robust $146 million, or 17.7 percent, compared with October of last year, whereas total handle on the 13 Breeders’ Cup races over the two days was $129.5 million. In addition, handle made the jump despite another sharp contraction in the number of races held during the month. Races were down 8.5 percent, according to the Equibase data, while starts were down 7.4 percent.

With the addition of the Breeders’ Cup Saturday card to the year-to-date figures, total wagering on U.S. races this year is up 2.4 percent, though that number almost certainly will drop when the November figures are added in. Purses are up 0.4 percent, while the number of races has declined 5.4 percent and starts have dropped 3.7 percent.