11/07/2016 12:15PM

Wagering slumps in October due to later Breeders' Cup

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Wagering on U.S. races in October was down starkly from betting during the same month last year, according to figures released by Equibase on Monday, but the comparison was nearly meaningless due to the later running of the two-day Breeders’ Cup event this year.

Wagering was down from $969.9 million to $790.1 million, or 18.5 percent, but this year, the Breeders’ Cup was held in November, and last year, the Breeders’ Cup was held on the last weekend of October. Wagering on the Breeders’ Cup last year was $125 million, and the event also generally leads to higher handle at other tracks on the same days.

Without the benefit of the $28.5 million generated in purses by the Breeders’ Cup, total purse distribution during the month dropped 17.3 percent, from $123.2 million to $101.9 million.

Race days in the month slipped 1.6 percent, while races held at U.S. tracks slipped 1.9 percent. Starts declined as well, by 3.6 percent, leading to a decline in average field size by 1.8 percent, to 8.11 horses per race.

Through the first 10 months of the year, wagering on U.S. races is down 1 percent, but that number is sure to jump into positive territory when the November figures are included. Races are down 2.4 percent, while field size is down 0.5 percent to 7.71 horses per race.