Make us your home page

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Downs sets handle mark on opening day of meet

OLDSMAR — The word of the day Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs was first.

On an afternoon when the track surpassed $4-million in all-source handle for the first time in 83 meet openers, trainer Bernell Rhone and son-in-law jockey Dean Butler won their first Downs stakes with 29-1 shot Game N Laughin', a 5-year-old Distorted Humor mare making her initial local start for owner Diamond G Ranch.

A crowd of 5,471 — 472 less than last season — attended the opener. But the track showed its popularity with a record all-source handle of $4,443,777 being wagered on the 11-race card, a 14 percent increase over last year.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd have to rate the day a 10," said Peter Berube, Downs vice president and general manager.

"I think we took the steps to entice people to come out here this year with free admission, free parking, reduced takeouts. I think just getting all the ADW (advanced-wagering) stuff put to rest is reflected in the numbers that we see (Saturday) in co-mingled handle. I think that bodes well for the beginning of the meet."

On Friday, Berube and Downs horsemen struck a deal with ADW venues, ensuring the track signal will be available to those sites for the next year. That move resulted in the track setting a handle record despite a 15 percent decline in live on-track wagering.

The first two races were held in memory of horsemen Larry Higgins and Kenny Ebersole, who died this year.

In the Lightning City, Game N Laughin' held off Jazzy by a neck, paying $61.40 to win. Her time on the roughly 5-furlong turf course was 57.21 seconds.

Greyhounds: Flying Mancini ($8.20) and Kiowa Muse ($21.80) won third-round qualifying races in the $75,000 660-Yard Challenge at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. Flying Mancini and Hi Noon Hypnotic share the points lead at 40 entering Wednesday's final round.

Tampa Bay Downs sets handle mark on opening day of meet 12/13/08 [Last modified: Thursday, November 4, 2010 11:59am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New Bucs player murals go up at Raymond James Stadium


    Each summer, it's a sign that training camp is soon to arrive at One Buc Place: the changing of the huge player murals on each corner of Raymond James Stadium.

    Bucs receivers DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans share a mural on the southeast corner of Raymond James Stadium.
  2. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)


    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  3. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  4. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  5. Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)