The $65,000 Lightning City Stakes, a five furlong turf test for fillies and mares, tops opening day of the 2008-2009 Tampa Bay Downs racing meet, which begins Dec. 13 and runs through May 3. The Tampa Bay stakes schedule encompasses 26 races with more than $2.7 million in purses and is highlighted by the $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) on March 14.
- By Jim Freer
The Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering has ordered jockey Pascacio "Paco" Lopez to serve 27 days of stewards' suspensions, including seven days at Gulfstream Park's 2009 meet that begins Jan. 3.
Tampa Bay Downs is requiring veterinarians to pay their first-ever licensing fees for its meet that begins Dec. 13. A licensing fee for blacksmiths was planned but has been put off until the 2009-10 racing season.
- By Tom LaMarra
Horse racing's problems, what its future could be, and a call to positive action figured prominently at the recent International Simulcast Conference in Florida.
An official of the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association said on May 14 that his organization will issue a proposal that would enable Calder Race Course to carry the simulcast signal of the May 17 Preakness Stakes (gr. I) -- with a condition.
Trainer Jamie Ness and jockey Daniel Centeno set records for most victories in winning their respective titles at Tampa Bay Downs, which concluded its 82-day meet May 4.
As the Florida legislature prepares to end its annual session May 2, chances appear very slim that it will pass either of two slot machine bills being sought by the Thoroughbred industry.
Aurora Springs Stable's Awesome Chic used a perfect ground-saving trip under Irwin Rosendo, took over at the top of the stretch, and drew away to win the $200,000 Florida Oaks (gr. III) by 4 1/2 commanding lengths March 15 at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Florida Senate approved March 13 two slot-machine bills that would help the state's Thoroughbred racetracks and other pari-mutuel facilities. However, there is considerable opposition to the bills in the Florida House of Representatives, and the influential Seminole Tribe of Florida is expressing concerns about the legislation.
Two bills that would help Thoroughbred racetracks, the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co., and the state's other pari-mutuel facilities will be on the calendar when the Florida legislature begins its annual two-month session March 4.
The Nick Zito trainee won his stakes debut Feb. 16 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Frank Calabrese's homebred Dreaming of Anna kicked off her 4-year-old campaign with a photo finish that was almost too close to call when she outbobbed 6-5 favorite Lear's Princess in the $150,000 Endeavour Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 16.
Z Humor and Smooth Air look to take another step toward the Kentucky Derby Feb. 16 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Two Florida Senate leaders are sponsoring separate gaming bills, with goals that include increased revenue for the state's three Thoroughbred tracks and for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. As with previous years' gaming proposals in Florida, the bills face opposition from gambling opponents in the legislature.
Trainer Don Rice, who was recently injured at his Central Florida farm, died Jan. 6 at a Gainesville hospital, Tampa Bay Downs has reported. He was 72.
Trainer Barbara McBride's 1,000th career victory came Jan. 5 when favored Ashley and I charged to victory in the fifth race at Tampa Bay Downs.
Eight-time Tampa Bay Downs leading trainer Don Rice was hospitalized in critical condition after he was apparently kicked in the head by a horse at his Central Florida farm.
There may be more opportunities for Thoroughbreds to race in Florida in the coming years as at least one proposed Quarter Horse track has received a permit from the state, with a second such facility under consideration for similar licensing.
Peter Berube, vice president and general manager of Tampa Bay Downs, and Hal Handel, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the New York Racing Association (NYRA), have been appointed by the Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America (TRA) to serve on the management committee of Equibase Company LLC
- By Tom LaMarra
There will be three new grade I stakes in the United States in 2008 after a review by the American Graded Stakes Committee, but for the time being, the three Breeders' Cup World Championships races run for the first time in 2007 won't have a grade.
The 82nd season of Tampa Bay Downs racing will feature record increases for both its stakes schedule and daily average purses, it was announced Sept. 20.
A state law that severely limited the ability of South Florida horse racing tracks to simulcast events from other pari-mutuel facilities is unconstitutional because of the way it was adopted, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Sept. 6.
- By Claire Novak
Frank Fabian, president of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau, addressed last year's banning of several jockeys while one of the riders, Terry Houghton, is scheduled to appear before the Michigan Racing Commission June 28 for an investigatory hearing.
- By Tom LaMarra
Joe Judice, one of seven jockeys banned from Tampa Bay Downs this past December because of an investigation into alleged race-fixing, returned to the saddle June 3 at River Downs and promptly won with his first two mounts of the meet.
- By Claire Novak
The transcript from a recent hearing before a judge appointed by the Illinois Racing Board brought new details to light concerning the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau's investigation of 10 jockeys banned last December from Florida and Pennsylvania tracks for alleged race-fixing.
Steady growth in interstate wagering, total handle and purse payouts highlighted the 81st season of live thoroughbred racing at Tampa Bay Downs, which ended May 6. The Oldsmar, Fla., track also celebrated a record single-day attendance May 5 when a crowd of 11,014 witnessed Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) winner Street Sense capture the 133rd Kentucky Derby.
The March 17 Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) has a long tradition of sending entrants to the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and other premier 3-year-old stakes. Heading the field this year appear to be Street Sense, who is making his 3-year-old debut and Sam F. Davis winner Any Given Saturday.
A field of eight fillies, including grade III winner Cotton Blossom, will take the gate for the March 17 $200,000 Florida Oaks, going 1 1/16 miles at Tampa Bay Downs.
Trainer Gerald Bennett scored a rare double victory at Tampa Bay Downs in the featured seventh race Wednesday, an allowance test for older horses. Bennett's entries in the race, Demagoguery and Anglers Reef, finished in a dead heat for the win.
Any Given Saturday, a $1.1 million Keeneland yearling purchase, goes into the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs with one thing to prove--whether he's matured from his headstrong ways.
Jockeys Terry Houghton and Derek Bell have been given approval to ride at the spring Hawthorne meet that begins Feb. 23. The riders were among seven jockeys banned from the grounds of Tampa Bay Downs Dec. 19, 2006.
The Jockeys' Guild is protesting the banning of jockeys at racetracks in Florida and Pennsylvania and said the tracks have a "constitutional obligation" to let the riders return to work.
Barkley Sound kept his perfect Tampa Bay Downs record intact by winning the $75,000 Pasco Stakes for 3-year-olds Saturday in the time of 1:24.1 for the seven-furlong distance.
- By Ryan Conley
Barring an always-possible turn of events, the recent outbreak of equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) in Florida might have a minimal impact on the state's racetracks.
- By Claire Novak
Officials close to a decision by Tampa Bay Downs to ban jockeys from its grounds is related to a race run at Great Lakes Downs this past summer.
- By Scott Davis
Following the confirmed case of Equine Herpes Virus Type I in a horse that had been stabled at Calder earlier this month, the Miami track has taken action to avoid the spread of the potentially lethal airborne virus.
Tampa Bay Downs ruled off seven jockeys effective Dec. 19 because of what management called an "ongoing investigation" being conducted by the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau.
Tampa Bay Downs will reduce take-out of several wagering categories starting on its opening day card Saturday, Peter Berube, the track's vice president and general manager announced.
The 3-year-old stakes schedule will take on a slightly different look in 2007, due mostly to the return of Fair Grounds and several changes to the Gulfstream Park stakes structure, which will again run the $1-million Florida Derby (gr. I) five weeks before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
A record-high $2.5 million stakes program for the 2006-2007 meet at Tampa Bay Downs features purse increases for five of 26 stakes races, including the track's key Kentucky Derby prep races, the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) and Sam F. Davis Stakes.
Allison De Luca has been named director of racing and racing secretary for the 2006-2007 Thoroughbred meet at Tampa Bay Downs, general manager Peter Berube announced Aug. 25.
Trainer Miguel Feliciano scored his 1,000th career victory in 7,316 starts in Thistledown's first race June 19 with Formal Pass. Jockey Ernesto Oro was aboard for the milestone win.
Bob Kibbey, Tampa Bay Downs' director of security, died June 5 after a short illness at the age of 76 at his home in Oldsmar, Fla.
Tampa Bay Downs officials announced Tuesday that purses will be increased by $500 per overnight race, bringing average daily projected overnight purses to a new all-time record level of $133,000 per day, eclipsing last year's record of $121,000 per day or 10 percent($12,000). The increase will be effective March 25.
Tampa Bay Downs, in conjunction with the track's Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association division, will boost purses for all overnight races on Festival Day, March 18, by 35%.
Continuing a trend that began several years ago, on-track and total handle, as well as daily average overnight purses, at Tampa Bay Downs showed solid gains when the Florida racetrack hit the midpoint of its 2005-06 season the week of Feb. 20.
Tracy Farmer's homebred millionaire Sir Shackleton, who came into the $50,000 Super Stakes fresh off of a layoff and a series of good works at Palm Meadows, left the Oldsmar oval the holder of the seven furlong track record at Tampa Bay Downs with an additional $30,000 in earnings.
The Tampa Bay Downs board of stewards handed trainer Don Rice an additional six-month suspension and denied privileges of the grounds during that period after a third Rice-trained horse tested positive for an excess amount of alkaline agents during the last week.
Trainer Don Rice, who has topped the Tampa Bay Downs trainer standings six times, has been suspended 30 days and denied access to the grounds of the Florida racetrack for the same period because two of his horses tested positive for "milkshakes" in the past week.
Tampa Bay Downs canceled live racing on Feb 3 due to heavy rain and lightning.
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