Economic Indicators: Strong Saratoga, Del Mar Starts Boost July Handle – Horse Racing News


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Robust wagering at Saratoga and Del Mar, two of the year’s premier race meets that each kick off in July, contributed towards a 3.93 percent increase in monthly betting over July 2021, according to the most recent statistics provided by Equibase, the industry’s official database.

Both Saratoga, which began its season on July 14, and Del Mar, opening a week later than usual this year on July 22, have reported increases in daily average wagering in the early stages of their respective meets.

For comparison’s sake, Saratoga ran 14 days in July 2022 vs. 13 in July 21. Del Mar, on the other hand, ran nine dates in July 2021 vs. seven this year. July 2022 had 10 weekend days when wagering is highest while July 2021 had nine. Average field size in July was virtually unchanged from 2021, at just under seven horses per race.

Purses remain strong, increasing by 12.86 percent from July 2021 to July 2022.

Comparing July 2022 and 2022 year-to-date statistics to the pre-pandemic year of 2019, the increases are significant in wagering and purses, with 20 percent-plus rises in both July and year-to-date statistics. Year to date, there have been 8.46 percent fewer races run compared to 2019, but even with that decline average field size has shrunk, going from 7.40 for 2019 year to date to 7.19 in 2022.

July 2022 vs. July 2021
Indicator July 2022 July 2021 % Change
Wagering on US Races* $1,144,419,071 $1,101,174,291 +3.93%
US Purses $124,719,989 $110,511,273 +12.86%
US Race Days 453 445 +1.80%
US Races 3,535 3,531 +0.11%
US Starts 24,524 24,527 -0.01%
Average Field Size 6.94 6.95 -0.13%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $2,526,311 $2,474,549 +2.09%
Average Purses Per Race Day $275,320 $248,340 +10.86%

YTD 2022 vs. YTD 2021
Indicator YTD 2022 YTD 2021 % Change
Wagering on US Races* $7,409,456,622 $7,378,208,912 +0.42%
US Purses $713,426,589 $625,662,965 +14.03%
US Race Days 2,382 2,326 +2.41%
US Races 19,405 19,322 +0.43%
US Starts 139,538 141,825 -1.61%
Average Field Size 7.19 7.34 -2.03%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $3,110,603 $3,172,059 -1.94%
Average Purses Per Race Day $299,507 $268,987 +11.35%

2020 Comparisons:

July 2022 vs. July 2020
Indicator July 2022 July 2020 % Change
Wagering on US Races* $1,144,419,071 $1,098,021,143 +4.23%
US Purses $124,719,989 $90,220,894 +38.24%
US Race Days 453 398 +13.82%
US Races 3,535 3,280 +7.77%
US Starts 24,524 24,984 -1.84%
Average Field Size 6.94 7.62 -8.92%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $2,526,311 $2,758,847 -8.43%
Average Purses Per Race Day $275,320 $226,686 +21.45%
YTD 2022 vs. YTD 2020
Indicator YTD 2022 YTD 2020 % Change
Wagering on US Races* $7,409,456,622 $6,152,548,050 +20.43%
US Purses $713,426,589 $414,389,542 +72.16%
US Race Days 2,382 1,699 +40.20%
US Races 19,405 14,186 +36.79%
US Starts 139,538 113,058 +23.42%
Average Field Size 7.19 7.97 -9.77%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $3,110,603 $3,621,276 -14.10%
Average Purses Per Race Day $299,507 $243,902 +22.80%

2019 Comparisons:

July 2022 vs. July 2019
Indicator July 2022 July 2019 % Change
Wagering on US Races* $1,144,419,071 $942,243,633 +21.46%
US Purses $124,719,989 $103,342,574 +20.69%
US Race Days 453 484 -6.40%
US Races 3,535 3,742 -5.53%
US Starts 24,524 26,612 -7.85%
Average Field Size 6.94 7.11 -2.45%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $2,526,311 $1,946,784 +29.77%
Average Purses Per Race Day $275,320 $213,518 +28.94%
YTD 2022 vs. YTD 2019
Indicator YTD 2022 YTD 2019 % Change
Wagering on US Races* $7,409,456,622 $6,615,017,905 +12.01%
US Purses $713,426,589 $647,344,706 +10.21%
US Race Days 2,382 2,588 -7.96%
US Races 19,405 21,199 -8.46%
US Starts 139,538 156,851 -11.04%
Average Field Size 7.19 7.40 -2.81%
Average Wagering Per Race Day $3,110,603 $2,556,035 +21.70%
Average Purses Per Race Day $299,507 $250,133 +19.74%

* Includes worldwide commingled wagering on US races.

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