Tampa Bay Downs will open its 2015-2016 race meet this afternoon with large fields, the prospect of ideal weather and a feature race laden with stakes-caliber runners.
First post is 12:22 p.m. for the ten-race card that has 121 entrants.
The Oldsmar, Fla. track’s featured ninth race is one of three opening day races on the turf. It is a $100,000 optional claimer at five furlongs on turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. It has a $28,000 purse.
Ten of the likely starters finished second or better in a turf stakes sprint this year. They are Fascinante, Joya Real, Double Secret and You Bought Her.
Tampa Bay Downs (TBD) is billing the race as the Lightning City Preview. It is expected that many of the horses will run in the $100,00 Lightning City, also at five furlongs on turf on Dec. 19.
The horses in the opening day races have been shipped into Tampa Bay Downs for the winter from
approximately 15 tracks in the United States and Canada.
“That makes us unique and adds to the complexity of and excitement of handicapping,” said Peter Berube, Tampa Bay Downs vice-president and general manager.
Trainers from around the country like the
Tampa Bay Downs treatment that they and their horses receive at Tampa. Officials expect that the track’s 1,400 stalls will be taken.
TBD is one of just several US tracks where the ground is hard enough to have winter turf racing.