2020 Horse Racing Deal with Practically on Par with 2019 Totals Regardless of COVID

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Posted on: January 11, 2021, 10:39h. 

Final up to date on: January 11, 2021, 11:35h.

Betting on US horse racing in 2020 almost held its floor from 2019. However purses, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, took a serious hit. That’s based on year-end information launched by Equibase final week.

Horseracing Purses Drop, But Handle On Par
Genuine strides to victory within the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5, 2020 at Churchill Downs. Decreased betting on main horse racing occasions just like the Derby led to a slight decline in deal with in 2020. (Picture: Jeff Roberson/AP)

Bettors wagered greater than $10.9 million on thoroughbred races final yr. That was down $108.6 million – or lower than 1 % – from the $11 billion gambled in 2019. The deal with lower was barely a blip, despite the fact that the variety of races declined by 23.5 %.

COVID had a novel affect on racing final yr. Main tracks like Churchill Downs, Santa Anita, and Belmont Park misplaced racing dates due to the virus. As well as, all of the Triple Crown races have been pressured to rearrange their schedules. That led officers at Churchill Downs to run the Kentucky Derby in September. In Maryland, Pimlico Race Course moved the Preakness Stakes to October.

All three Triple Crown races additionally have been held with out spectators. So, despite the fact that the vast majority of wagers on these races happen on-line, the shortage of followers definitely had an affect, particularly on the undercard races for these main racing days.

The deal with for the Kentucky Derby’s full card was down almost 50 %. That $124.9 million drop off was larger than the year-to-year decline.

Nonetheless, whereas main tracks discovered their race days reduce, different tracks have been truly capable of increase their racing calendars. In March and April, as most US sports activities remained on hiatus due to the virus, bettors have been capable of wager on races at such tracks as Nebraska’s Fonner Park and Tampa Bay Downs in Florida.

In an announcement, Nationwide Thoroughbred Racing Affiliation President and CEO Alex Waldrop thanked the followers and the “important individuals on the bottom and past” for his or her work in holding the game going throughout difficult occasions.

The horse racing group is extraordinarily resilient, as borne out by the truth that regardless of the widespread and destructive impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, pari-mutuel wagering on US races held regular,” he stated.

The typical quantity wagered per race day was $3.3 million in 2020. That elevated by almost a 3rd from the 2019 common of $2.5 million.

Much less Cash for Horsemen in 2020

That was the excellent news for racing. Right here’s the dangerous information.

Fewer race days and races meant there was much less cash obtainable for horsemen in 2020. Whole purses for US races fell by almost $300 million to $869.8 million. The 25.5 % decline in purses was almost an identical to the share of misplaced race days (3,302 in 2020, in comparison with 4,425 in 2019).

COVID points might doubtlessly carry over into 2021 for racing, even when the nation and the game progress within the restoration.

Some racing states depend on gaming income from casinos, racinos, or historic horse racing parlors to complement purses and make their races extra enticing to homeowners and trainers. As lots of these venues stay beneath COVID-19 restrictions that scale back the variety of patrons and machines obtainable, they could not be capable to sweeten purses as they’ve in years previous.

The unplanned darkish days at a number of tracks led to considerably fewer horses in beginning gates, too. Equibase reported barely greater than 220,000 begins in 2020, down from greater than 272,500 in 2019. Due to a steeper decline in races, although, the common subject dimension was almost eight per race final yr. That’s in comparison with 7.5 in 2019.

Trotters See Drops in Deal with, Purses

Harness racing endured a bleaker 2020 as its deal with dropped by 18.4 % final yr. In response to the US Trotting Affiliation, bettors wagered almost $1.16 billion, down from $1.42 billion in 2019.

Trade officers, although, famous that from late March to June, all harness tracks have been shut down, so it didn’t get the prospect that horse racing had within the spring.

From June on, wagering truly elevated by 6 %, as in comparison with the identical time interval in 2019. Bettors put down $844.4 million on these races.

As well as, purses have been additionally down. Harness horsemen competed for $304.1 million in cash in 2020. That’s down 30.8 % from $439.5 million in 2019.



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