HRFLA Staff Report
Tampa Bay Downs has received permission from Florida racing regulators to extend its racing season through May 30.
The Oldsmar, Fla., track was scheduled to have racing through May 3.
Starting the week of May 4, Tampa Bay will have races on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Through May 3, it also has races on Sundays.
In its application for twelve extra race dates, Tampa Bay Downs noted to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering that in most years many trainers have by now sent horses back to tracks in northern states for spring racing.
But many of those tracks are closed for training and racing because of government orders or by their own decisions amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The regulators accepted Tampa Bay’s contention that it is helping trainers and owners who otherwise might have problems relocating horses during May.
In its expanded schedule, it is expected that Tampa Bay will continue to race with no spectators on site, and thus no live wagering. It is doing that as part of its efforts to comply with government guidances on limiting the number of persons at public events amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Many racetracks and many OTB offices that are usually sources of bets on Tampa Bay races have been closed for several weeks.
Fans can still watch and wager on Tampa Bay races via Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) Internet and phone accounts.
According to Equibase, Tampa Bay is among the five U.S. tracks that had races this week and are scheduled to have races next week.
The other four are Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., Fonner Park in Grand Island, Neb., and Will Rogers Downs in Claremore. Okla.
Like Tampa Bay Downs, those four tracks are racing without spectators on site.