'Summer Festival' Set for Tampa Bay Downs
by Tom LaMarra
Date Posted: 5/24/2013 9:13:44 AM
Last Updated: 5/25/2013 9:39:31 AM

Tampa Bay Downs
Photo: Tom Cooley Photography

Tampa Bay Downs is moving ahead with a two-day meet it calls the Summer Festival of Racing.

The Florida track is scheduled to race June 30-July 1 and has released its condition book. The dirt and turf courses will be used.

The two racing days will allow Tampa Bay Downs to become a full-time simulcast host and retain a much larger share of revenue. Currently, the track has to accept simulcast signals through Calder Casino & Race Course.

Earlier this year officials with Tampa Bay Downs and the Tampa Bay Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association said the move could generate about $2 million in additional revenue, half of which would go toward purses during the track's regular winter/spring season.

The plan doesn't sit well with horsemen that race in South Florida at Calder, Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association executive director Kent Stirling said May 24.

"We're very unhappy with this," Stirling said. "It could lead to purse cuts at Calder, which relies on that simulcast revenue."

Stirling said the Florida HBPA has joined Calder in protesting the plan to the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

Purses for June 30-July 1 will range from $9,000-$12,000, according to the condition book. The June 30 program will serve to conclude the 2012-13 meet, while the July 1 card will kick off the 2013-14 meet.

Florida racing, overseen by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, operates under a fiscal year from July to June.



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