Press Release


Monday, January 5, 2004

Contact: Bob Curran Jr. (212) 521-5326

4th Quarter Marked by Sharp Decline in Number of Racing Days;
Purses Dip, but Again Exceed $1 Billion

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 2003, as well as for U.S. purses and race days, with prior-year comparisons. Total wagering increased 0.9 percent, to $15,178,510,116, in 2003. Total U.S. purses declined 1.86 percent to $1,054,245,981. Total racing days for 2003 dropped from 6,547 to 6,438, triggered primarily by changes in the racing schedules of several racetracks, including the Meadowlands and Suffolk Downs, as well as weather-related cancellations in the fourth quarter.

"Even with the loss of 109 racing days in 2003 - 78 of them in the fourth quarter - horseracing again has shown growth in the pari-mutuel wagering sector, continuing a trend that now encompasses 10 years," said NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith.

"On the other hand, purses have failed to keep pace, for the second consecutive year, with the increase in total wagering volume. This pattern is a serious concern and will be a priority matter for the NTRA and like-minded industry organizations to further understand and address in 2004."

Thoroughbred Racing Economic Indicators (2003 versus 2002)

Indicator 2003 2002 % Change
Wagering on U.S. Races $15,178,510,116 $15,042,874,877 +0.90
U.S. Purses $1,054,245,981 $1,074,247,498-1.86
U.S. Race Days 6,438 6,547 -1.66

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 administer the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of eight races and $14 million in purses and awards and the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA Web site,, and at the Web site for the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships,