Horse, dog tracks keep similar schedules for next season

Published March 21, 2015

OLDSMAR — For Tampa Bay area racing fans, the 2015-16 parimutuel calendar will practically be a carbon copy of this season.

Tampa Bay Downs, the thoroughbred racetrack in Oldsmar, will have another 91-day meet, including the two-day Summer Festival of Racing. Derby Lane will host greyhound racing on a year-round basis again, assisting Tampa Greyhound Track.

Racing dates were released recently by the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation — Division of Parimutuel Wagering. The upcoming fiscal year goes from July 1 to June 30, 2016.

The Downs will kick off its 90th season on July 1, the second day of its Summer Festival of Racing that begins June 30. The track will then take a hiatus until Nov. 28, when the bulk of its racing takes place through May 8. Another break follows until the season finale on June 30. Most programs will be on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The Summer Festival of Racing qualifies the Downs as a year-round, live-racing site, resulting in additional simulcast revenue for the facility.

Derby Lane and Tampa Greyhound each will have 208 racing performances in their respective six-month meets. The schedules for both tracks feature eight weekly cards, doubleheaders on Wednesday and Saturday, and no Sunday racing.

The Tampa Greyhound meet, which runs July 1 through Dec. 31, will be held at Derby Lane. Since 2007, when Tampa Greyhound ended live racing, the track has held its dog races at Derby Lane to remain eligible for poker and simulcast wagering. One change is the addition of Monday matinee racing in November as well as December. Last year, Tampa Greyhound only had Monday afternoon action in the latter month.

On Jan. 7, the Downs announced it was purchasing Tampa Greyhound, a major source of its simulcast revenue. The state listed TBDG Acquisition LLC as the permit holder on the Tampa Greyhound license signed March 12. TBDG is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Downs.

Derby Lane's 91st season will run Jan. 1 through June 30. The oval will provide Monday matinee racing every month except June.

"I think (the 2015-16 schedule) is as good as ever," Tampa Bay Greyhound Association president Cal Holland said. "Most all the kennels are happy with the schedule we have now, and most of us like the Monday matinees."

DOGS: D'Arcy kennel set a Derby Lane modern-day record with back-to-back six-win performances on March 13-14. The 12 victories on consecutive cards were two more than Patriot (2011) and Red Oak (2013). Former kennel Filipelli & O'Donnell is believed to be the single-performance win leader with seven in 2009. … Capabal kennel All-America captain and Rural Rube winner Joey Ice, who was injured on Oct. 13, returned Wednesday and surpassed $80,000 in career earnings with his 56th victory.