Hurricane Sandy Impacts Horse Racing's Economic Indicators

Hurricane Sandy Impacts Horse Racing's Economic Indicators

The storm had a significant effect on wagering during the Nov. 2-3 Breeders' Cup races, held in California.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Considering there were 13 fewer race days during the month of November compared to 2011 due to several track power outages in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, pari-mutuel handle was down slightly with purses showing a small increase, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released Dec. 5 by Equibase.

Hurricane Sandy, which hit the mid-Atlantic and Northeast Oct. 28, had a significant effect on the Nov. 2-3 Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park, which took place at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif., as some northeast tracks were unable to offer wagering on the races due to damage and power outages. The two-day wagering total of $144,272,332 was down 10.67% from the 2011 event held at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Ky.

Equibase reported worldwide comingled wagering on United States races of $867,928,453, down less than 1% from $874,137,205 in November 2011. Purses in the United States totaled $104,460,953, an increase of 2.55% from last November.

Meanwhile, the number of race days--individual programs at each track--fell 3.32% from 392 last November to 379 this year.

The November 2012 figures reflect a solid turnaround from a year ago. Handle last November was down 7.2% from November 2010, purses were off 6.2%, and race days declined 7.89%.

For the first 11 months of 2012, handle on U.S. Thoroughbred races totaled $10,083,930,771, up 1.15% from $9,969,648,537 at this point last year. Purses through November were up 6.61% to $1,052,782,703 from $9,969,648,537 for the first 11 months of 2011, while U.S. race days of 4,975 so far this year are up slightly from 4,952 a year ago.

About the Author

The Blood-Horse Staff

The Blood-Horse is the leading weekly publication devoted to international Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Since 1916, the staff of The Blood-Horse has served the Thoroughbred community with the highest standards of journalistic excellence to provide comprehensive and timely editorial coverage and analysis.

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