Tampa Bay Downs announced on Friday that it will raise purses on most of its races by approximately ten percent beginning next Wednesday Feb. 3.
That increase will be from an average of $10,000 to $11,000 for all maiden special weight, allowance, claiming and starter races. That covers all races except stakes.
Peter Berube, Tampa Bay Downs’ Vice President-General Manager, said the track is raising purses because a double-digit gain in simulcast wagering has more than offset a decline in on-track wagering,
The purse increase is Tampa Bay’s second in its 2020-2021 race meeting. The track had raised purses by approximately 10 percent on Dec. 16.
Tampa Bay Downs said it is averaging $4.1-million in total daily handle on its product, a 15-percent increase from the same period last season. The track did not specify that period. We assume it was Wednesday Jan. 27, the 35th day of its 90-day meet.
On-track wagering has fallen 25 percent, due to what Tampa Bay officials said is mostly attributable to the effect of COVID-19 on attendance. It did not release numbers on attendance.
Tampa Bay has been open to spectators since it began its 2020-2021 meet on Nov. 25. It is one of the first U.S. tracks that reopened for spectators–following the “no-spectators” racing that had been prevalent in the United States since last April.
In 2019-2020 Tampa Bay was open for spectators from the start of its meet through mid March.
“Our Thoroughbred signal is among the most popular in the country each winter and continues to gain new players, thanks to the size of our fields (an average of 8.4 horses a race) and our outstanding turf program,” Berube said. “We are pleased to use the increased revenue to support the people who make our racing competitive and challenging for serious handicappers and $2 bettors alike.”
Tampa Bay Downs will have ten races on Saturday with first post at 12:32 p.m.
Antonio Gallardo will resume riding after sitting out two days for what track stewards determined was a rules infraction in a recent race.
Gallardo has 42 wins and is second in the standings behind Samy Camacho who has 46. Daniel Centeno is third with 26 victories.
Saturday is the 37th day of Tampa Bay’s 90 day 2020-2021 meet.
Camacho, who led Tampa Bay in wins in 2018-2019, has eight mounts on Saturday.
Gallardo, who won the 2019-2020 riding title, is listed on seven Saturday mounts.
He is coming into Saturday with 1,997 career North American wins.
Centeno, who has won five Tampa Bay riding titles, has five Saturday mounts.