Tampa Bay Downs concluded its 76th anniversary season of Thoroughbred racing May 5th with handle its live races from all-sources averaging nearly $2.1 million per day. The previous high was 1.8 million per day during the 1999-2000 season.
"We were up in every major category including an 8% increase in starters per race, we averaged 9.26 starters which is one of the highest numbers in the country," said Peter Berube, vice president and general manager. "We are extremely happy with the results on a comparative basis plus we were pleased to add many new innovations for the fans."
The Oldsmar, Fla., track paid an average of $103,900 in purses, up from $101,900 a day for last season, an increase of 2%. The increased purse structure contributed to the outstanding quality of racing and the large field sizes throughout the winter months.
A new co-mingled daily average handle record was posted on the Tampa signal with nearly $2,100,000. This figure bypassed the old mark of $1.6 million set two seasons ago.
A new single day record regarding handle wagered at Tampa Bay Downs was also achieved on Kentucky Derby (gr. I) day, May 4th, 2002; a total of $1,336,000 passed through the mutuel windows surpassing the old mark of $1,198,075 on Kentucky Derby day last year.
In the 93-day meet, a total of $193 million, or an daily average of nearly $2.1 million was handled creating a new high water mark to be achieved in future meets.
On-track handle and attendance also rose slightly in 2001-2002. Some 53.2 million was wagered on-track up 4.75% from last season, while 306,000 people attended the Oldsmar oval, up 2.7% from last season.