From Tampa Bay Downs
Tampa Bay Downs will increase purses for all races except stakes by approximately 10-percent beginning on Wednesday, Dec. 16.
Peter Berube, the track ‘sVice President-General Manager said the increase will be $1,500 for maiden special weight and allowance races and $1,000 for claiming and starter races.
“Thanks to the efforts of former (Tampa Bay Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association) President Bob Jeffries and the approval of their board, we were able to build a substantial cushion in the purse account before the current meeting,” Berube said.
“Our export (simulcast) business has been strong since racing returned on Nov. 25 and is up 29to date,” Berube said.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, Tampa Bay did not have spectators at its races between mid March and July 1 this year.
It has had spectators sine it resumed racing on Nov. 25. They are required to wear masks at all times and there are social distancing and sanitzing requirements.
“We were projecting a 30-35-percent decrease in on-track wagering on live and simulcast racing to start the meeting and those projections have been correct, but the actions of the Tampa Bay HBPA and the popularity of our signal across the country enable us to feel comfortable raising purses starting next week,” Berube said.
Through the first six cards since the 2020-2021 meeting resumed, Tampa Bay Downs has averaged $3,719,055 in daily interstate wagering. The total wagering handle on Saturday’s 10-race card was a Cotillion Festival Day record $6,128,282, of which $5,702,369 was through interstate wagering.
Around the oval. Tampa Bay Downs currently races on a Wednesday-Friday-Saturday schedule, with Sundays added to the mix on Dec. 20. Additionally, the track will conduct a Thursday card on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, and be closed Christmas, Dec. 25.
Otherwise, Tampa Bay Downs is open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits action and tournament play in The Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at The Downs Golf Practice Facility.