Citing unspecified increases in wagering handle,Tampa Bay Downs raised purses on overnight races twice last month.
The increases are for all races except stakes and they began on Feb. 10 and Feb. 25 at the Oldsmar Fla., track. Both increases were for six percent or about $1,000 per race.
For example, on Wednesday Feb. 23, Tampa Bay had nine races with total purses of $173,500–for an average of $19,277 per race.
On its next race day, Friday Feb. 25 it had nine races with total purses of $180,080 for an average of $20,008 per race.
The increases continue an upward trend that saw Tampa Bay hike overnight purses four times during the 2020-2021 meet.
“Several factors have contributed to our ability to raise purse money again for our horsemen,” said Peter Berube, the track’s Vice President & General Manager. “First and foremost is the quality product our horsemen continue to provide, which has led to an increase in wagering handle.”
He added: “Our Racing Office, headed by Racing Secretary Allison De Luca, works diligently to provide competitive races with large fields that attract bettors both on-track and from our simulcast outlets around the country. We have also enjoyed good weather much of the season, which has been reflected in our attendance figures.”
Tampa Bay Downs had total handle of $12,129,779 on its Feb. 12 Festival Preview Day card–headed by the Sam F. Davis Stakes (Grade 3) for 3-year-olds. That was the seventh highest handle in Tampa Bay Down’s history.
Track officials are optimistic the March 12 Festival Day card, which includes the Grade 2, $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby for 3-year-old Triple Crown prospects and three other graded stakes. Those races could help exceed the track record of $15,229,287 set on March 6, 2021–last year’s Festival Day.