As the Triple Crown trail came to an end, with many tracks hosting important Kentucky Derby preps, and with Keeneland staging its Spring meet in its regular spot on the calendar, wagering on U.S. races exceeded $1.1 billion, according to statistics released Wednesday by Equibase.
Year-over-year comparisons are largely irrelevant, as the effects of the coronavirus really made their presence felt in April 2020. Keeneland was left no choice but to postpone its meet to July, racing at Santa Anita was dark into late May and in New York, it remained shut down into early June.
However, a side-by-side analysis considering pre-pandemic numbers reveals some encouraging trends. The handle on U.S. racing in April 2019 was $850 million, meaning that this year's figure represents an impressive gain of 30.4% as compared to two years ago. While the raw number of live racing dates compared to April 2019 declined by 10.29$ and the average number of races (-7.16%) and starts (-8.56%) were also down, average daily wagering last month was $3,953,797, an improvement of 45.35% over 2019, while the average purses per race day of $321,005 represented a gain of 16.2%.
Year-to-date wagering of $3.87 billion is better by 14.44% over 2019, with average daily wagering ($3,702,589) increasing by 26.49% over 2019. Average purses per day were ahead by 7.54% at $291,446.