HRI Edited Release — The final thoroughbred racing economic indicators are out. Last year was a good one for industry stake holders with purses up an average 4.5% but not a good overall sign as betting handle slipped by 2%.
The takeaway is that tracks are suffering rank and file losses while purses, normally fueled by betting dollars, slipped. Meaning? Casino dole good; betting product not so much.
Another trend worth assessing is average field size, a metric that has decreased over decades but was flat in 2019, somewhat abating a slide and very likely attributable to the burgeoning number of turf races that, on balance, attract larger fields.
Below is a breakdown of the numbers, courtesy of Equibase:
Editor’s Note: For the second consecutive year, total wagering on U.S. races topped $11 billion.
|YTD 2019 vs. YTD 2018|
|Indicator||YTD 2019||YTD 2018||% Change|
|Wagering on U.S. Races*||$11,038,790,395||$11,263,943,823||-2.00%|
|U.S. Race Days||4,425||4,432||-0.16%|
|Average Field Size||7.53||7.65||-1.56%|
|Average Wagering Per Race Day||$2,494,642||$2,541,504||-1.84%|
|Average Purses Per Race Day||$263,937||$252,198||+4.65%|
|1st Half 2019 vs. 1st Half 2018|
|Indicator||1st Half 2019||1st Half 2018||% Change|
|Wagering on U.S. Races*||$5,675,370,071||$5,864,821,854||-3.23%|
|U.S. Race Days||2,104||2,081||+1.11%|
|Average Field Size||7.46||7.63||-2.23%|
|Average Wagering Per Race Day||$2,697,419||$2,818,271||-4.29%|
|Average Purses Per Race Day||$258,557||$247,751||+4.36%|
|2nd Half 2019 vs. 2nd Half 2018|
|Indicator||2nd Half 2019||2nd Half 2018||% Change|
|Wagering on U.S. Races*||$5,363,420,324||$5,399,121,969||-0.66%|
|U.S. Race Days||2,321||2,351||-1.28%|
|Average Field Size||7.59||7.66||-0.93%|
|Average Wagering Per Race Day||$2,310,823||$2,296,521||+0.62%|
|Average Purses Per Race Day||$268,814||$256,135||+4.95%|
|4th QTR 2019 vs. 4th QTR 2018|
|Indicator||4th QTR 2019||4th QTR 2018||% Change|
|Wagering on U.S. Races*||$2,442,731,189||$2,422,104,796||+0.85%|
|U.S. Race Days||910||936||-2.78%|
|Average Field Size||8.05||8.05||-0.09%|
|Average Wagering Per Race Day||$2,684,320||$2,587,719||+3.73%|
|Average Purses Per Race Day||$301,156||$286,909||+4.97%|
* Includes worldwide commingled wagering on U.S. races.