Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs

Tom Cooley Photography

Tampa Bay Increases Summer Festival Purses

Two-day meet allows Florida facility to be classified as a year-round track.

Tampa Bay Downs presents its second annual Summer Festival of Racing June 30 and July 1, featuring an approximate 25% increase in purses from last year's inaugural two-day event.

Eight races will be run each day, with action on both the main dirt track and turf course (weather permitting). Each starter will receive at least $500 in purse money. Post time both days is 12:30 p.m. EDT, and there is free parking and grandstand admission in addition to simulcast wagering on other tracks.

Tampa Bay Downs general manager Peter Berube announced June 12 that both day's races will be simulcast to the track's in-state and out-of-state wagering markets.

"We received an excellent response from our horsemen last summer on short notice for our first Summer Festival, and as the event continues to gain in popularity, we are excited to bring it to a wider audience and increase the size of the wagering pools," Berube said.

"Raising purses by 25% from last year is another way to express our thanks for our horsemen's continued participation," Berube added. "Our hope is to establish the Summer Festival as an event that horsemen and fans look forward to every year."

The condition books for both days of racing are available at the track website.

The track will take entries for both days of racing June 26. The barn area will open June 29 at 10 a.m.

The Summer Festival of Racing, which was not simulcast in 2013, enables Tampa Bay Downs to fulfill the legislative requirements to be classified as a year-round, live-racing facility. That status gives the track full control of its simulcast imports and resultant inter-track wagering revenue throughout the year. The additional income allowed Tampa Bay Downs to raise purses by 15% during the 2013-14 meeting, including an all-time high $24,000 for maiden special weight races.

The June 30 card marks the 91st day and the official end of Tampa Bay Downs' 2013-14 racing season, while the July 1 program kicks off Tampa Bay Downs' 89th season of competition, which is expected to resume in late November and run through June 30, 2015.