Wagering Slides, Prize Money Jumps in January

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According to statistics released Feb. 4 by Equibase, wagering on North American racing during the first month of the new year totaled $942.6 million, a decrease of 1.82% from the corresponding figure from 2021, while owners raced for purse money of better than $82 million combined, a whopping 15.48% more than the $71.1 million from 12 months ago.

Despite the wintry weather that annually claims its fair share of programs and a pause in racing in Maryland owing to track maintenance, the number of race days increased fractionally last month to 259 from 255 last year (+1.57%), though the actual number of races, starts and field size each posted declines.

Average wagering per-race day declined by 3.34% to $3.64 million from $3.77 million last year, but given the hefty rise in prize money, purses per race day averaged $317,000, a solid increase from $278,818 in 2021.

When compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2020, U.S. purses rose by 13.85%, while average daily purse levels improved by 24.4%.

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