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Live year-round racing to continue at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — The area parimutuel landscape will look the same in 2009-10.

For the second straight year, Derby Lane will team with Tampa Greyhound Track for a live year-round greyhound meet. All racing will be at the St. Petersburg track.

Alexis Antonacci, spokes­woman with the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation-Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, said each track has been granted a six-month racing permit for next season. Tampa has 210 performances from July 1 through Dec. 31. Derby Lane's permit takes effect in 2010, featuring 208 performances from Jan. 1 through June 30. There will be eight weekly performances and no Sunday racing.

"It's a good arrangement and we're continuing it next year," Derby Lane spokeswoman Vera Filipelli said. "Staying year-round (at one site) is a win-win for the fans. Plus, kennels get to remain in the same place."

Tampa Bay Downs, the Oldsmar thoroughbred track, was granted a permit for a 94-day meet from Dec. 12 through May 2, 2010. Simulcast wagering and poker at the three facilities will be available seven days a week.

Derby Lane has assisted Tampa with meeting the number of racing performances required by the state since 2007, when Tampa abruptly halted live racing 49 days into a scheduled year-round meet. Florida Statute 550.475 has been a key for Tampa. It allows holders of valid parimutuel permits to lease any and all of their facilities to any other holder of the same permit when located within a 35-mile radius of each other. The statute entitles the lessee to operate its meet at the leased premises. Without Derby Lane, Tampa would have to race live to offer simulcast wagering and poker. Financial terms of the tracks' agreement were not disclosed.

It appears Tampa's live racing days are over. "Some of (Tampa's) racing equipment has been sold to other tracks recently," Fili­pelli said. "I don't believe you'll see racing at Tampa again."

Tampa Greyhound Track general manager Mike Hater did not return telephone calls.

MORE RACING: Derby Lane dogs Akr Ritters Gold, Its Quillan and Kiowa Knockout are in the $30,000 Naples-Fort Myers Classic final tonight (Race 13, 9:50) at Bonita Springs. … TBD trainer Derek Ryan said he is leaning toward starting Tampa Bay Derby winner Musket Man in the Illinois Derby on April 4 at Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero. Musket Man ranks 12th among Kentucky Derby hopefuls with $200,000 in graded earnings. … The Hearts Reaching Out fundraiser on Monday, benefiting TBD's Race Track Chaplaincy of America programs for workers on the TBD backside, raised approximately $18,000, chapter president Sharyn Wasiluk said.

longer race: Horses entered in the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon will be running a little longer. The race's distance has been extended from 1½ miles to 1¾ for this year's Breeders' Cup world championships, Nov. 6-7 at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. That makes the Marathon the longest major stakes race run on a main track in the United States this year.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Live year-round racing to continue at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg 03/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 20, 2009 7:33pm]

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