May 2014 national handle grew versus that in May 2013, but for the year to date, 2014 remained behind the prior year, according to Equibase data provided by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

U.S. tracks carded 524 live racing days last month, a 2.5 percent increase over the 511 carded last May.  Handle grew more modestly  — less than 1 percent above 2013 — to $1.2 billion for the month.  Purses grew more strongly, by more than eight percent, to more than $112 million.  One source of purse growth regionally was the increase in purses for a number of Preakness weekend stakes, including a $500,000 boost for the Preakness itself.

For the year to date, however, the economic indicators remain more mixed.  The number of days carded is down slightly from last year, and wagering is down a shade over two percent.  Purses are up less than one percent.

Per-card handle was down about 1.5 percent in May 2014 versus a year ago, to a bit over $2.3 million.  For the year to date, per-card handle is off about 1.4 percent.

The numbers include worldwide commingled wagering on U.S. races.


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