Musket Man won the Tampa Bay Derby and then finished 3rd in the Kentucky Derby.

Musket Man won the Tampa Bay Derby and then finished 3rd in the Kentucky Derby.

Tom Cooley Photography

Tampa Bay Downs Handle Declines 2.7%

Tampa Bay Downs handle declines 2.7%.

Tampa Bay Downs reported May 7 a 2.7% decline in all-sources handle for its recently-concluded 2008-2009 winter/spring meet at the racetrack located in Oldsmar, Fla.

A handle total of $373,460,995 was reported by the track for its 94-day meet, which was just less than $10.5 million wagered during the 2007-2008 meet of the same duration. The daily average was $3,972,989.

“Mirroring national trends, the overall handle at Tampa Bay Downs was down for the recently-concluded meet,” track vice president and general manager Peter Berube said in a statement. “Additionally, the wagering decreased due to a variety of circumstances that includes eight fewer total races, plus the general softness of the national economy and that of Florida in particular.”

Berube also said the track’s signal was not available in California. “In that light, I feel that Tampa Bay Downs has performed better than expected and overall I am satisfied with the final numbers,” he said.

On-track handle was $23,923,163, for a daily average of $254,502, or a decline of 10.4%. Average daily attendance at Tampa Bay Downs was 3,326, down 4.8% from the last meet.

Tampa Bay Downs paid out $14,725,900 in purses for a daily average of $156,659, which was a 6.3% drop. Field size was 9.32, nearly flat against the 9.41 of the last meet.

The track said it had a 51.4% decline in the number of horses claimed, 148 versus 288 the previous meet, and the total cost of claimed horses was $1,432,000, or 44% less than in 2007-2008.