Wednesday, February 1, 2006
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 United States and Canadian pari-mutuel wagering on U.S. Thoroughbred racing in 2005, as well as for U.S. purses and race days, with prior-year comparisons.
Severe weather in several major racing states had a clear and direct impact on pari-mutuel wagering in 2005. In a year that included record rains in California, hurricanes in the Gulf Coast and tornadoes in the Midwest, the pari-mutuel industry lost 147 days of racing from the previous year.
As a result, the industry experienced a slight decline in aggregate purses, with the number of race days and pari-mutuel handle showing declines of 2.29 and 3.43 percent, respectively, compared to 2004.
“It is encouraging to note that even with decreases in pari-mutuel handle, U.S. purses have topped $1 billion for six consecutive years,” said NTRA Commissioner D.G. Van Clief, Jr.. “This trend correlates to the growth in alternative gaming, which plays a larger role in supporting our purse structure, and has helped fuel the extraordinary growth that we have seen in the bloodstock market in recent years.”
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, equibase.com, 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, ntra.com, and at the Web site for the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, breederscup.com.