#US RACING: June handle up with much less races

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Wager tickets are pictured in this photo illustration before the running of the 147th Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York June 6, 2015. Betting is high as many gamble on American Pharoah becoming the first winner of the U.S. Triple Crown in nearly four decades when he takes on seven rivals in the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes later on Saturday. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri ORG XMIT: NYC201

US Thoroughbred Handle grew for the first time since February, before the Covid-19 pandemic started affecting racing schedules.  With most summer tracks resuming their racing schedules, albeit without spectators or with limited spectators on track, handle increased nearly 1% from June 2019.

All figures in US dollars.

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Interestingly, the June 2020 increases were achieved with 36% less races, although field size growing from 7.1 to 8.1 horses per race certainly helped.  Overall, this was a much more efficient outcome, with $49,071 in handle being generated for each runner, a 39% increase over last year.

PIC TWO

Looking at the top tracks in June 2020, Belmont Park led the way, followed by Gulfstream Park and Churchill Downs. All three had average field sizes of 8.5 or higher. In comparison to June 2019, Belmont Park’s handle was similar the last two years ($276M vs. $280M), but Gulfstream Park’s handle increased by $26 million ($136M vs. $110M) and Churchill Downs handle increased by $24 million ($112M vs. $88M).

PIC THREE