07/11/2005 12:00AM

Total U.S. handle dips again

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Total parimutuel betting on U.S. horse races dropped 3.8 percent in the second quarter of 2005 from the second quarter a year earlier, according to figures released by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association on Monday.

The quarterly decline, from $4.16 billion in 2004 to $4.0 billion in 2005, comes on the heels of the first overall annual decline in wagering on U.S. races posted in 11 years and a 6 percent decline in handle in the first quarter of 2005 compared with the same quarter in 2004.

The figures for the second quarter of 2005 also showed a marginal decrease in purses for 2004, from $294.6 million to $293.3 million, a decline of 0.48 percent. The NTRA said that U.S. race days during the second quarter declined from 1,806 in 2004 to 1,767 in 2005.

Overall in 2004, wagering dipped 0.6 percent from 2003.