Rovell: Horse Racing Handle Surprises, Beats June 2019 Despite Fewer Races

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Al Bello/Getty Images. Pictured: Tiz The Law

Wagering on horse races in the US was up in June compared to June 2019, despite fewer race tracks being open, according to numbers published by industry tracker Equibase on Monday.

Nearly $1 billion was bet in June ($998.4 million), up 0.76% vs. June 2019 ($990.9 million). The figure is remarkable considering there were 199 fewer race days (down 39.8%) and 1,420 fewer races (down 36.3%). There was an average of eight horses per race, up from seven the year before, offering more wagering options per race.

Through the first half of the year, wagering on US races has totaled $5 billion, down 10.8% versus 2019. With races down 37.5% on the year, average wagering per race day has been up 44.1% to help make up the difference.

With no crowd, and being the first race of the Triple Crown for the first time, the Belmont Stakes drew only $67.8 million, a huge drop from the $102.2 million wagered in 2019 and the $137.9 million bet in 2018.

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