Tampa Bay Downs and the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association agreed to add two more Florida Sire Stakes races to the track's upcoming 2017-18 season.
A total of four stakes worth $450,000 will now be carded for FTBOA-registered, Florida-bred horses that are sired by FTBOA-registered and FSS-eligible stallions.
Most recently added to Tampa Bay Downs' May 5 card are the $100,000 FTBOA Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings and the $100,000 FTBOA Ivanavinalot Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Both races will be run at a mile and 40 yards on the main track.
Earlier in the year, the track and FTBOA announced the addition of two seven-furlong, main-track FSS races to be run Dec. 16: the $125,000 FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings, and the $125,000 FTBOA City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
The Dec. 16 races, which will be the first FSS races ever offered at Tampa Bay Downs, will be part of the track's Cotillion Festival Day card, which includes the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes for 2-year-olds and the $100,000 Sandpiper Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Both the Inaugural and the Sandpiper purses will be enhanced by $50,000 FSS "win-only" bonuses.
"Adding four Florida Sire Stakes races is a major enhancement to our stakes schedule, which promises to be the best in track history," said Tampa Bay Downs vice president and general manager Peter Berube. "With the support of the FTBOA and horsemen, we think our fans will be thrilled to have the opportunity to watch many of the best state-breds in action."
FTBOA chief executive officer Lonny Powell said "the FTBOA is excited to follow through on remaining details from our end, and execute upon our strategy to expand our lucrative and nationally acclaimed Florida Sire Stakes to Tampa Bay Downs, and we are undertaking this exciting experiment anticipating a high probability of success."
Powell noted the stakes were the result of a collaborative effort and relationship between Tampa Bay Downs management, the FTBOA and the Tampa Bay Downs horsemen's group.
"Peter and his team love and understand the sport and are always interested in ways to continue to build their racing program and business," Powell said. "A major plus that cannot be overstated is that (Tampa Bay Downs horsemen's group president) Bob Jeffries and his leadership are always open to working with the FTBOA and Tampa Bay Downs management to improve the economics and opportunities for the trainers, owners, and breeders and the track.
"When you have the horsemen, track, and breeders all rowing in the same direction, the boat ride gets much smoother," Powell said.
Tampa Bay Downs will open its barn area Oct. 30, with training to set commence Nov. 6. The 2017-18 season, which officially began July 1, is set to resume Nov. 25.