Tuesday, October 23, 2018
News Roundup

Tampa Bay Downs offers fun for more than steady bettors

TAMPA

Going to a horse racing track can be intimidating if youíre not familiar, but you donít have to be a steady bettor or a handicapper to enjoy the races at Tampa Bay Downs.

In fact, you donít have to know much about horse racing to have a good time.

Thereís fun for the entire family to enjoy on the trackís Opening Day this Saturday (Nov. 25). Come out and enjoy the scenic view of a pond surrounded by palm trees and an evergreen turf and dirt track. Visitors find a laid-back ambience in the picnic area pavilion where kids can play and run around between races. Families can get up close and personal to pet Mouse the Miniature Horse, the track mascot, and take pictures as well.

There is plenty of good food whether youíre in the mood for nachos or hot dogs from the concession areas, or a three-course meal from the various breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurants throughout the facility. You can get away from the dirt for a while and head next door to play golf where adults can still place bets and view the races.

Tampa Bay Downs prides itself on its fan-friendly atmosphere. Fans can view the horses in the barn, and get a closer look at the action trackside right as the gun goes off and after the race to high-five the trainers and jockeys that ride the horses. And for adults there is also a poker room and a clubhouse for simulcast viewing of other races around the world that you also can place a bet.

"Itís a great afternoon of entertainment for minimal cost," said vice president of publicity and marketing Margo Flynn. "You get to enjoy the pageantry of the horses racing and the beautiful weather that Florida has to offer this time of year."

"Itís a great experience to take you out into the country and a new experience for a lot of people that I think they thoroughly enjoy when they see it."

Opening Dayís first race begins at 12:25 p.m. The gates open at 11 a.m. to the public with free parking, and admission is free for children under 12 accompanied by an adult, and only $3 for everyone else. The track is located at 11225 Race Track Road.

Last year the track welcomed 4,010 people on opening day and this year they expect nothing less. Tampa Bay Downs track is known as a melting pot for horses of various breeds and the consistent, nice weather especially attracts trainers and owners during the racing season.

The last four weeks proved busy with horses starting to arrive on Oct 30 from all over the country in preparation for the big day. Nov. 6 marked the first day officials allowed horses on the track for training. They expect horses to fill all 1,250 stalls by the end of this month.

"Thereís been a lot of anticipation leading up to it," publicity assistant Mike Henry said. "Itís been almost five months since we ran."

Opening Day is only the beginning of family fun activities to come this 2017-2018 season. On Sundays, February 11 and 25 and March 4 and 18, there will be pony rides, bounce houses, slides, carnival games, and more for the family.

To add to the excitement, Tampa Bay Downs has surpassed last seasonís record of 24 stake races just under $3 million in purse money with 28 stake races on the schedule totaling $3.65 million in purses this season. Itís the Oldsmar trackís richest stakes schedule in 92 years. They have also upgraded to a new large HD screen in the infield for better viewing of the races.

"People are just raving about it because the picture is that much sharper and that much clearer," Henry said. "Itís just sharp as a bell and itís really nice. Thatís going to enhance the fan experience quite a great deal."

For the true horse racing lovers, the first big stakes day is Dec 16 with four stakes: The Inaugural Stakes, The Sandpiper Stakes, The FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes and the FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes ó all totaling $450,000 in purse money.

That same day, Tampa Bay Downs will host a brunch sponsored by EG Vodka with a full breakfast buffet, and complimentary admission and a racing program.

There also will be a seminar on how to get into horse racing for those that are interested in becoming a handicapper. Another big day bettors donít want to miss this season is Festival Day on March 10 where there are five stakes totaling $1 million in purse money.

Contact Monique Welch at [email protected]

     
 
Comments
Diocese of St. Petersburg celebrates 50th year with free Family Faith Fest

Diocese of St. Petersburg celebrates 50th year with free Family Faith Fest

Christian music stars Jeremy Camp and Colton Dixon will perform Saturdday at Al Lopez Park.
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Grammy Award winning Christian vocalist performs in Sun City Center

Grammy Award winning Christian vocalist performs in Sun City Center

Steve Green, Christian vocalist, will perform at Trinity Baptist Church. He's celebrating 31 years in the Christian music industry.
Updated: 12 minutes ago
Pinellas substitute teacher brings a gun to school, and is escorted out

Pinellas substitute teacher brings a gun to school, and is escorted out

Police removed a substitute teacher from Largoís Anona Elementary School on Tuesday after discovering the teacher was in possession of a gun, according to the Pinellas County school district.In a call to parents, principal Ann Welsh said the substitu...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Ruskin motorcyclist crashes, fatally struck while lying on road

Ruskin motorcyclist crashes, fatally struck while lying on road

After colliding with a boat trailer on US-41, a motorcyclist was ejected from his vehicle and lying on the road. He was then struck by another vehicle traveling northbound and died from his injuries.
Updated: 28 minutes ago
Lazydays acquires Tennessee RV Supercenter

Lazydays acquires Tennessee RV Supercenter

SEFFNER ó Lazydays Holdings Inc., the Seffner-based RV dealership, is acquiring Tennessee RV Supercenter, the company announced Tuesday. The deal, for which financial details were not disclosed, is expected to finalize within the next two months. "We...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Whatís behind Yanni Gourdeís strong start for the Lightning

Whatís behind Yanni Gourdeís strong start for the Lightning

Yanni Gourde has a simple goal this season, and it's the same one he had last season: Play 82 games.The Lightning forward knows how much each game counts. Gourde was just short of the NHL's cutoff to count a rookie season two years ago. So he wa...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Land O'Lakes man killed after losing control, striking utility pole

Land O'Lakes man killed after losing control, striking utility pole

A Land O' Lakes man was killed while speeding northbound down County Road 583 when he lost control of his vehicle, veered into the shoulder and slammed into a utility poll.
Updated: 1 hour ago
Residents continue to find flaws with Upper Tampa Bay Trail reroute

Residents continue to find flaws with Upper Tampa Bay Trail reroute

A developer hopes to rezone land around the trail for an apartment complex, but the plan has drawn opposition.
Updated: 1 hour ago
The president says itís okay, claims Tampa man accused of groping woman on flight

The president says itís okay, claims Tampa man accused of groping woman on flight

A Tampa man accused of groping a woman during an airline flight said "the President of the United States says itís okay to grab women by their private parts," according to a criminal complaint.Bruce Michael Alexander, 49, grabbed the woman at least t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs agree to terms with former Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter

Bucs agree to terms with former Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter

Two days after losing Kwon Alexander and Jack Cichy to  season-ending injuries, the Bucs agreed to terms with former Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter following a workout Tuesday.Minter, 27, played in nine games last season with the Cincinnati B...
Updated: 1 hour ago