Saturday, February 24, 2018
Sports

Tampa Bay Downs makes brief return

OLDSMAR — Sixteen races. Two days. One major change.

Tampa Bay Downs will hold its second Summer Festival of Racing on Monday and Tuesday with an eight-race card each afternoon, beginning at 12:30.

The Downs traditionally had not offered live thoroughbred racing after Kentucky Derby weekend in May, but the track uses the two dates to meet state requirements allowing it to be classified as a year-round facility. The live-track status gives the Downs total control on the importing of simulcast racing and provides a boost in its inter-track wagering revenue.

Oldsmar horsemen saw the immediate impact this season with a 15 percent raise in purses.

"(The Festival) was a lot of fun last year, and we intend to have a lot of turf action," Downs spokeswoman Margo Flynn said.

Entries were drawn Thursday with many horses from the Ocala area.

Downs vice president and general manager Peter Berube has made one significant change this year that will be a considerable boost to handle. The track's product will be simulcast to outlets outside the Downs, unlike last season when wagering was limited solely to track side fans.

"It gives all of the bettors and racing enthusiasts an opportunity to wager into much larger pools, which is more conducive," Flynn said. "The pools will be larger, because they'll be nationwide."

Total attendance at last year's event was 1,989 with combined wagering of $124,054. That handle is expected to be surpassed this year after one or two races.

Purses will be 25 percent higher than last year's Festival. Each race is limited to eight horses with every starter receiving at least $500 in purses. The Festival includes a $5,000 jockey challenge with points earned based on order of race finish. The top three riders will collect bonuses of $2,500, $1,500 and $1,000.

Monday's program will close the Downs' 91-day meet for 2013-14. The track will kick off its 89th season Tuesday, but then will take a hiatus from live racing until Nov. 29 for the majority of its schedule.

All individual titles have been decided: rider Antonio Gallardo, trainer Jamie Ness, and owner Midwest Thoroughbreds. There will be free admission and parking each day.

GREYHOUNDS: The 88th annual St. Petersburg Derby is tonight at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. The field for the $30,000 Derby in Race 10 (10:11 p.m.): Golden Waltz, Jacks Lil Bigman, Kiowa Jordan Doc, Kiowa Zabia, Odd Charlie, Odd Grayson, Penrose Kyle and Tmc's Roxslide. First place pays $13,000. Odd Grayson of Abernathy kennel is the heavy favorite. The $10,000 Consolation Derby is in Race 8 (9:33). Starters in that event are: Budz Crosby, Crowned Supreme, Flying Thor, Kulprit, Lk's Instigator, Se's High Onlife, Scott Wheeler and Ws's Miracle. First place is worth $4,400. Both races are on the 660-yard course.

Comments
Inside the Raysí plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

Inside the Raysí plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

PORT CHARLOTTE – The Rays know tanking."We tanked in 2006 and '07, if you want to call it that," principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. "We were the original tankers. Or tankees. It seems to be all the fad now."In losing 101 and 96 games in the...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Plant City wins first soccer championship in dramatic fashion

Plant City wins first soccer championship in dramatic fashion

DELAND — As Plant City players lined up for their Class 5A state championship medals after an exhausting 2-1 (3-2 in penalty kicks) win over Miami Beach Saturday afternoon, the reality hit them. They had to dye their hair blond.The Raiders made...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Distance Classic journal: Feeling the burn at 81

Distance Classic journal: Feeling the burn at 81

TAMPA — Bill Riley is still at it, which is amazing because he's 81.A very, very fast 81.Riley, for instance, ran Saturday's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K in 26 minutes, 19 seconds, more than 10 minutes ahead of his next age group compe...
Updated: 3 hours ago
USF honors seniors, watches them shine in win against Cincy

USF honors seniors, watches them shine in win against Cincy

What began as an emotional senior night segued into a methodical senior showcase for the 18th-ranked USF women Saturday.Six-foot Denmark native Maria Jespersen notched her 17th double-double of the season (26 points, 16 rebounds) while fellow senior ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
What Lightning would be getting in Erik Karlsson

What Lightning would be getting in Erik Karlsson

MONTREAL – We don't know yet if the Lightning will be able to land Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson by Monday's trade deadline.There's a chance, with Tampa Bay having enough interest – and high-level prospects – to make t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Call her more than just a survivor

Call her more than just a survivor

TAMPA — On the quiet morning of Oct. 8, 2011, a 30-ton freight truck ran a stop sign in the small town of Clinton, Conn.It ran over Colleen Kelly Alexander, who was riding a bicycle.The truck's front wheels crushed her, then spit her to the bac...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays Journal: Duffy not just playing but playing well, Faria struggles, more

Rays Journal: Duffy not just playing but playing well, Faria struggles, more

FORT MYERS – Just playing on back-to-back days was significant for Rays 3B Matt Duffy.Playing well has made the start of spring training even better."Really liked the way Duffy has continued to play," manager Kevin Cash said after a 4-3 loss to...
Updated: 4 hours ago
That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Raysí plan

That guy standing by Cash in the dugout? All part of Raysí plan

Jonathan ErlichmanFor a moment Friday, it looked as if a young businessman, accountant or computer guy had won one of those charity auctions to spend a game in uniform in the Rays dugout.Actually, it was Rays analytics director Jonathan Erlichman, a ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Practice makes perfect for Gasparilla 5K champions

Practice makes perfect for Gasparilla 5K champions

TAMPA — The only other time Taylor McDowell ran the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K, he came in 10th place. So as this year's event neared, the Tampa resident created a training plan, and he stuck to it.McDowell, who competed in cross cou...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

TAMPA — Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that t...
Updated: 7 hours ago