Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Derby Lane president feeling hopeful in face of financial turmoil

ST. PETERSBURG — Vey Weaver rose from his chair and started to head home after another day at Derby Lane. Before shutting his office door, the track president and chairman of the board stopped briefly and said, "We don't sugarcoat anything here. We tell it like it is."

The bottom line on Derby Lane's 84th season will be more sour than sweet when the year-round meet concludes Tuesday. As expected, the downturn economy has hit the greyhound facility hard. There will be double-digit declines in all handle categories and a marginal drop-off in attendance compared with the previous season (July 1, 2007, through June 30).

Four performances remain in the track's meet. Derby Lane is down in live on-track wagering, 20.24 percent at $24,885,349; intrastate wagering, 13.64 percent at $39,116,644; interstate wagering, 15.69 percent at $55,457,441; overall wagering, 16.04 percent at $119,459,434; and guest simulcast wagering (non-Derby Lane greyhounds, thoroughbreds, standardbreds and jai alai), 23.41 percent at $66,387,162. Weaver said there were 47 fewer performances this season with no Monday matinee.

Attendance is off slightly with 724,969 patrons, a 1.26 percent decline. One positive has been the track's new poker room, centerpiece of a $2.5 million renovation. Since the addition opened in January, card room gross receipts have been up $138,308, a 15 percent increase.

"The only thing that's really saving us is the card room being up these last six months," Weaver said. "We're just thankful that we're keeping our heads above water. There's a lot of other businesses that are not doing as well as we are because of these bad economic times and competition. We're living on to fight another day."

Weaver also clarified a recent report regarding Derby Lane as a possible site for a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. "No one from the Rays or the blue ribbon (stadium) committee has ever contacted us," Weaver said. "We plan to be here for a long time, or we wouldn't have spent $2.5 million on a poker room."

MORE DERBY LANE: The St. Petersburg Derby (Race 10, 10:07 tonight) and Consolation Derby (Race 8, 9:29 p.m.) highlight the 15-race performance on Fan Appreciation Night. … The 2009-10 meet begins Wednesday at Derby Lane. The first six months will be raced under a Tampa Greyhound Track permit, allowing that facility to offer simulcast wagering and poker. Derby Lane's racing permit takes effect Jan. 1. Live greyhound racing, simulcast wagering and poker will be available year-round at Derby Lane. … The first Derby Lane stakes of the new meet will be Friday with Night of Stars XXII, a racing showcase at tracks across the country. Part of the proceeds go toward greyhound adoption. All races can be seen at thenightofstars.com.

thoroughbreds: Rachel Alexandra makes her first start since winning the Preakness on May 16, as the 1-5 favorite today in the Grade I, $300,000 Mother Goose at Belmont Park. She leaves from the No. 3 post in the field of five fillies. It's the ninth race on the 10-race card, scheduled to go off at 5:17. … Zenyatta aims for her 11th consecutive victory at 5:30 p.m. in the Grade I, $300,000 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park. The unbeaten 5-year-old mare, who leaves from the outside post in the field of eight, is such an overwhelming favorite, the Inglewood track won't offer show betting on the race. Both can be seen on Trackside Live at 5 p.m. on Sun Sports.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Derby Lane president feeling hopeful in face of financial turmoil 06/26/09 [Last modified: Friday, June 26, 2009 9:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Sunday Morning Quarterback, Week 9

    Footballpreps

    Tampa Bay Tech Titans Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass during the first half during the first half at Durant High School in Plant City on Friday, October 20, 2017.
  2. Road to Atlanta: Tell us how you really feel, Jimbo

    College

    Topped out

    TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21:  Rashaan Evans #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide tackles Jarrett Guarantano #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) 775042495
  3. Journal: USF gets support on the road

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — Perhaps it was the chance to witness the first USF-Tulane game ever, or an opportunity to frolic in the French Quarter for a weekend. Or both.

    USF running back D'Ernest Johnson (2) stiff-arms Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson (17) on a run during the second half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH111
  4. Joey Knight's takeaways from USF-Tulane

    College

    1. Saturday's triumph will do little to fortify USF's strength of schedule, but its strength-of-character quotient might have increased. On the road facing an eclectic offense, the Bulls built a huge lead, then made critical plays in the waning moments after some defensive lapses. In short, they survived. Isn't …

    South Florida defensive end Greg Reaves (41) reacts after a defensive stop against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH107
  5. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103