Purses Up, Pari-Mutuel Handle Down in 2019

Decline in pari-mutuel handle ends a four-year stretch of gains.

For all of racing’s problems in 2019, there certainly were plenty of locations where horsemen had reason for optimism behind strong purses. But, there most assuredly are numbers of concern in the year-end economic indicators released Jan. 6 by Equibase.

Fueled by strong purse growth in Kentucky—specifically Churchill Downs—purses for races in the United States increased 4.5% in 2019 to $1,167,921,650 compared with 2018. It’s the second straight season of strong growth for U.S. purses as they improved 3.5% in 2018.

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