02/05/2010 12:00AM

Quarter Horse handle declines in '09

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Handle on Quarter Horse racing fell by 1.4 percent in 2009 from the previous year, according to figures released on Friday by the American Quarter Horse Association.

Handle reached $328.4 million on 9,152 Quarter Horse races in 2009. There were 39 fewer races run in 2009 than in 2008.

Racing was not conducted at Les Bois Park in Idaho in 2009 and fewer races were run at Blue Ribbon Downs in Oklahoma, Mount Pleasant Meadows in Michigan, and Retama Park in Texas. Those losses were nearly offset by increases in races run at Fair Grounds, Sam Houston and Hialeah Park.

There was a slight increase in the number of starters, by 1.6 percent, to 16,911. The number of 2-year-old and 3-year-old starters fell slightly, while the number of older-horse starters reached 5,894, a gain of 4.8 percent.

Purses rose 1.7 percent, to $127.6 million, a result of an increase of 5.4 percent in added-money available, to $102.4 million.

The Quarter Horse association reported that 35.3 percent of favorites won in 2009.