08/04/2013 1:42PM

Wagering on U.S. races flat in July

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Wagering on U.S. races in July was level with the same month last year despite a nearly 3 percent drop in race days, according to figures released Sunday by Equibase.

Total wagering during July was $926.9 million, up 0.2 percent from $925 million in July 2012, according to the figures. The number of race days declined 2.9 percent, from 557 last July to 541 this July, leading to average wagering per race day of $1.71 million this July, compared with average wagering per race day of $1.66 million last July.

Handle on U.S. races has been in a steady decline for nearly a decade, but the figures have leveled off somewhat over the past 18 months. At the same time, the number of race days has begun to dip as racetracks attempt to cope with significant declines in the foal crop over the past five years.

Total purse distribution during July was $109.8 million, up 1.9 percent from $107.8 million in July 2012, according to the figures. Purses at U.S. racetracks are heavily subsidized by casino revenue.

For the year, handle is off 0.7 percent, according to Equibase, at $6.54 billion, compared with $6.58 billion through July 2012. The number of race days has declined 3.4 percent, while purses have declined 1.1 percent.