Press Release


Thursday, January 9, 2003


2002 Marks Ninth Straight Year for Record Pari-mutuel Wagering;
Purses Again Exceed $1 Billion
Contact: Peggy Hendershot, NTRA (859) 422-2648
                Rhonda Norby, Equibase (859) 224-2856

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) and Equibase Company LLC today released the year-end "Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators" for pari-mutuel wagering in the United States and Canada on U.S. Thoroughbred racing in 2002, as well as for U.S. purses and race days, with prior-year comparisons. Total wagering increased 3.19 percent, to $15,048,033,312, in 2002. Total U.S. purses increased 0.63 percent to $1,074,240,247, again topping $1 billion. Total racing days for 2002 dropped from 6,578 to 6,545, mostly from race-day cancellations caused by inclement weather in the fourth quarter.

"In a year marked by economic declines in a number of areas, it is noteworthy that horseracing sustained positive growth in pari-mutuel wagering for the ninth straight year," said NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith. "Only a negative fourth quarter, due primarily to the loss of 28 racing days in December, prevented even higher handle growth for the year."

Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators (2002 versus 2001)

Indicator 2002 2001 % Change
Total Wagering on U.S. Races $15,048,033,312 $14,583,140,594 +3.19
Total U.S. Purses $1,074,240,247 $1,067,491,517 +0.63
Total U.S. Race Days 6,545 6,578 --

The five-year (1998-2002) average annual increase in wagering on U.S. Thoroughbred racing is 2.95 percent. Total pari-mutuel wagering has increased annually since 1994.

Equibase Company is a partnership between The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America (TRA) and serves as the Thoroughbred industry's Official database for racing information and statistics. Through its Web site,, the Company offers an ever-increasing menu of racing information, statistics and handicapping products for everyone from the casual fan to the most experienced handicapper.

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horseracing interests, including the American Quarter Horse Association, charged with increasing popularity of horseracing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited also conduct the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of eight races and $13 million in purses and awards, the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program and the Great State Challenge. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA Web site,