Tampa Sets Handle Record for One Program
Photo: Tom Cooley Photography
Tampa Bay Downs

Full fields, three graded stakes, and quality horses helped Tampa Bay Downs register record total pari-mutuel handle for one program March 12.

The total wagered on 12 races during "Festival Day 36 Presented by Lambholm South" was $12,250,446, up 11.8% from the previous high of $10,949,948 five years ago on the same program that features the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II), Hillsborough Stakes (gr. IIT), and Florida Oaks (gr. IIIT).

Destin won the Derby, which offers points on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" at Churchill Downs; champion Tepin captured the Hillsborough; and Baciami Piccola took the Oaks this year. Attendance was reported at more than 10,000.

"Thoroughbred racing is a sport where everyone has their own opinion, but we heard a lot of fans in all age groups say Saturday was the greatest day in track history," Tampa Bay vice president and general manager Peter Berube said.

Field size for the March 12 card averaged 10.17 horses per race. Purses paid totaled $999,900.

Tampa Bay fared well in the national simulcast marketplace as Saturday's total handle was behind only Santa Anita Park, which held its 11-race Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) card, and Gulfstream Park.

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