16 April 2006

Betting Up in Canada and US first quarter

Despite fewer racing dates during the first quarter of 2006 compared with the same period last year, pari-mutuel handle on races in the United States and Canada increased 3.73% to $3,590,607,272, according to the Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators released on Friday by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Equibase Co.

The overall increase in the handle figures coincided with a 1.33% increase in aggregate purses to $199,641,227 compared with $197,021,571 in the first quarter of 2005. The number of race days dropped 1.79% to 1,154 from 1,175.

"The first-quarter handle and purses statistics are very solid, especially in light of the quarter's drop in racing dates," NTRA Commissioner D.G. Van Clief Jr. said. "It was also a quarter that saw an unraced two-year-old sell at auction for a record $16-million, so there are a number of reasons to feel encouraged as we head into the spring and summer months."

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