Economic Indicators For June Show Across-The-Board Declines

by | 07.04.2015 | 12:15pm

Thoroughbred racing economic indicators released by Equibase Saturday showed that last month's wagering, purses, race days, races, and starts were down from June 2014 levels.

Wagering in June took the slightest dip, down less than half a percent from last year's levels. The sharpest decrease was in June starts; there were 28,763 starts last month as compared to 31,368 in June 2014, down 8.30 percent.

There was one area of growth: in second-quarter statistics, wagering was up 3.52 percent from 2014 levels. All other second-quarter stats, however, showed declines.

Statistics for the year-to-date were all down as well.

Economic indicators for June 2015 (charts courtesy Equibase):

 June 2015 vs. June 2014
Indicator June 2015 June 2014 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races* $925,512,755 $927,683,726 -0.23%
U.S. Purses $96,884,024 $104,516,868 -7.30%
U.S. Race Days 497 528 -5.87%
U.S. Races 3,893 4,225 -7.86%
U.S. Starts 28,763 31,368 -8.30%
2nd QTR 2015 vs. 2nd QTR 2014
Indicator 2nd QTR 2015 2nd QTR 2014 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races* $3,055,547,544 $2,951,674,063 +3.52%
U.S. Purses $291,707,804 $297,979,123 -2.10%
U.S. Race Days 1,368 1,410 -2.98%
U.S. Races 11,072 11,600 -4.55%
U.S. Starts 82,550 86,277 -4.32%
YTD 2015 vs. YTD 2014
Indicator YTD 2015 YTD 2014 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races* $5,479,192,872 $5,507,622,288 -0.52%
U.S. Purses $494,340,164 $513,423,392 -3.72%
U.S. Race Days 2,283 2,386 -4.32%
U.S. Races 18,805 19,969 -5.83%
U.S. Starts 144,699 150,232 -3.68%

* Includes worldwide commingled wagering on U.S. races.

  • Tinky

    Apparently takeout hasn’t yet been raised quite enough.

    Hop to it, boys.

    • KyRace Fan

      Doubt that is the answer to fix the problems!!!!!!!

  • kyle

    But…wasn’t the game saved?

  • Ernest Vincent

    Unfortunately, even with a 2015 TC winner (and a 2014 underdog TC attempt good feeling story) the ‘numbers say any spiked and potential renewed interest by the general public for racing is declining. The metrics and numbers are in. Zenyatta was perhaps the last to push the game into the winner’s circle.

    The horse-bet product costs a handsome amount to put on dirt and lawn. But, unlike other sports, where the teams are in competition; at the end of the day revenue sources to those teams provide the owners/employees with substantial pay. Everybody wins who put on the show. It is not a zero sum game. As is racing.

    • mike

      Zenyatta another joke – when she retired Hollywood had 12,000 screaming fans – wow! If she came to Saratoga to face-off against Rachel they would have put 70,000 people in the stands – instead she ran against garbage cans.

      • Ernest Vincent

        The topic heading is economic indicators.
        The Z was covered on 60 minutes and other non-racing media; and the handle in her BCup, and along the way was spiked interest and $$$$$/handle along the way- Perhaps 20 to 40 million dollars for the whole cards more than the record lowest whole cards – 2day.
        Gains must come from new – General Population. Mike is not a GPer. Accordingly, if there is a way to calculate economic factors; and replicate interest and handle improvements employing a Z-factor as example(s) and methods to bring people to the window, not the races. Racing could attract three times the number of people to AP’s next. If all that happens is that they can tell friends and neighbors they saw da horse, got a hat and the traffic was a killer, and thus did not bet much the day and don’t have any plans to go back on a ‘regular horse day’ . Thus the promo money and expense did not accomplish any mission.
        That is the GPers true and regular interest, even if just one time more than the Derby. No joke.

      • Normanson

        First- Of course she DIDN’T retire at HP.
        Second- Switch was a “garbage can”?

        • mike

          First – yes the retirement party was at Hollywood
          Second – Yes Switch was a slow horse

          • Normanson

            Pull the other one.
            You even contradict yourself within your reply.
            You clearly imply that she retired racing “garbage cans” at HP. She retired after the Breeders Cup Classic in which she did not face “garbage cans”. Case in point is the fact you refer to Switch as one of said “garbage cans”.
            Switch was a fine horse. People who say multiple Stakes winners are “slow” I have a problem taking seriously.
            Glad to know you’ve seen great races in your day but you are another race fan running your perception through a filter of bias.

          • Normanson

            And, yes, she had her “Retirement Party” at HP. Her first was at Santa Anita, but of course they campaigned her one more year. Didn’t make it to that party. Lived in San Diego but I didn’t care for Hollywood Park. Compared to Santa Anita and Del Mar it was a clear step down. (Although I preferred it to NOTHING.)

  • Ernest Vincent

    Drafting sports players-type betting,casinos, sports betting is-ah chomping away on TB racing’s bit. And (if) states receive Fed approval for booking sports betting (New York & New jersey) will take at least 10% more of the East Coast racing dollar.

    Perhaps more if it shakes away the significant racing bank rolls. More dollars will be tied up on Saturdays and Sundays for games contested for hours vs same dollars churning through a window at 10 to 20 minute clips.

    The falling numbers are up against the general mind-set of the times. Real timers. Hand-held device, Internet, Apps (you can’t app ‘dis), thumbs messaging.

    In other words if a mile and an eighth race is ran in 1:50. What could these instant message, instant mash potatoes, instant replay people do with their other 28 minutes between races? Racing has become like asking a ten year old to switch there hand-held and play with wooden blocks.



    GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • LongTimeEconomist

      Are you out yet, Jerry?

  • Ernest Vincent

    Is there a need to fill in those other 28 minutes for the once a year trip visitors? After the race concerts does not do this. And brick and mortar racing is not the solution to begin with. But it is where the game usually starts-off its customer base. New money.

    Tracks have to stop thinking that on Valentine’s Day, to drive business up, put red heart shapes in the window. Educate and hold the hands of new customers and day trippers. Having two guys on a video monitor talking to each other is mambo jumbo to newbies. OK,ok.. list four program picks at the bottom of each race. That’ll teach-em.

    The children of racing’s elite taking summer jobs to teach the game to visitors doesn’t work. And programs that are geared for on line teaching are for beyond the new customers. One expert jumping around a race track can’t do it. Have a section where people want to experience race by race an understanding of what’s going to happen. Not teach handicapping or picks, but what’s going on and why. In layman/person’s terms. Not race speak to begin with.

    Racing….right now, immediately – Bring A Lunch.

    • mike

      younger people will not wait 28 minutes BORING AS HELL


        Well, boring if you are just sitting there and betting the pretty silks. If you are a ‘player’, it flies by. Unrealistic to think you can just conveyor belt horses and jockeys. I have been playing for 49 years and the saddling paddock and post parade are essential to the full enjoyment of the day.

        • mike

          we can’t have a track filled with old men

          • POWAYMOJO

            Got me on that one. Well, except for the conveyor belt point. Perhaps we should just install instant racing machines to make you happy. And, my money is the same shade of green as yours. The tracks have jacked up the non-wagering overhead to the point that many just play from home. A day at Del Mar means I am $35 in the hole before the first race.

            Mind you, I agree that live horse racing is a dying sport and that it is management’s fault.

          • Ernest Vincent

            LOL….. Elderly – And we also need woman to go to the races. There is not a new people segment market on the horizon coming up to fill the empty seats. Even wrestling and cage fighting know how to make a handsome profit.
            The model is simple: Push money through the window and up the handle.

            It never was never fashionable to be a player. Today we are an outed society. And it still isn’t fashionable.

      • Ernest Vincent

        It’s actually any age which amplifies the cause.

        This 4th of J weekend, the number of racing forms that were sold as a straw poll (one store newspaper/lottery/smokes store – the other – a major mega food chain and more Wegmans) did not sell out – leftovers. And the special souvenir

        AP magazine is not a seller, little interest or demand.

        Is it fashionable for young people to say they go to the race track or simo more than twice a year and like it? Wear a horse hat and talk about their win or excitement.?
        Or do most want to be known as doing something else, say betting sports tournament, sports, casino, or even some other recreational endeavor?

  • c. biscuit

    Is anyone really surprised by these numbers????
    But somehow, there are still a few that totally deny that racing is dying.

    • Ernest Vincent

      No surprises within here. It’s like an outdoors drive-in movie theatre that says: we’ll show two movies and cartoons and you can fill-up an SUV for $14. People inside the car would all be on their computers. Watching something else.

  • Concerned Observer

    The sad news in here is that
    1) A triple crown winner did not spike up the numbers.

    2) Much less racing (-8%) did not have a positive impact as many have suggested it would

    3) Purses down (-7%)…equals fewer owners in the future

  • VickieAdams

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  • Tessboss

    This decline will get worse. Bettors don’t like playing tracks they cannot watch. You can blame tvg and the mess they have made of hrtv.

  • mike

    I wonder if they made a drastic cut in take-out if that would help?

  • ITP

    All those months/years of handle down and purses up while the entire industry said things look great are coming to an end. It’s just going to be handle down and purses down for a long time now.

    Get used to it. It’s the bed you made for yourselves.

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