“The 2016 wagering and purse report suggests that Thoroughbred racing in the U.S. has stabilized from the world-wide economic recession of a few years back. A declining foal crop has challenged the industry to adapt by reducing races and race days and also encouraged innovation. It is noteworthy that handle increased in 2016 despite 85 fewer race days. Undoubtedly, these results also reflect the fact that our champions like California Chrome, Beholder, Tepin and Songbird, as well as a talented cast of 3-year-old stars headed by Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arrogate, continued to race through the Breeders’ Cup in November.

“One additional piece of positive news for the industry is the December 29 release by the Treasury Department and the IRS of proposed regulations that will fundamentally alter the way winning pari-mutuel wagers are withheld and reported.  By modernizing tax withholding and reporting to reflect the true cost of a wager, especially exotic wagers, more money will now remain in the hands of our customers who will re-bet most of those dollars for the benefit of all.  It’s an important fix that the NTRA has spent years advocating for and will have a positive impact on overall pari-mutuel handle from the moment it’s implemented.”

Alex Waldrop, President and CEO, National Thoroughbred Racing Association