Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Ends Strong 21-22 Season

Tampa Bay Downs posted significant gains in most major categories during the 2021-2022 season when compared to the 2018-2019 (pre-pandemic) meet--including average daily all-sources wagering handle and total purse money paid to horsemen. "Our Thoroughbred racing product has been very well-received, both by Tampa Bay area fans and the simulcast market throughout the country," said Peter Berube, the track's vice president and general manager, who attributed the increases in large part to the ongoing upgrade in the quality of racing and the attractiveness of the turf program. "The Lambholm South...

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Robert Raymond Passes Away

Robert "Bobby" Raymond passed away Sunday at Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, Fla., from septic shock. He was 74. Raymond trained 1,294 winners during his 43-year career and finished eighth in the 2020-2021 trainer's standings at Tampa Bay Downs. The longtime trainer suffered an infection in a cut on his leg and was rushed to the hospital last Friday. His condition gradually worsened over the next two days before he passed away at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. "He never stopped fighting. His heart was so big," Rob Raymond said...

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The Week in Review: Harness Track's Closing a Cautionary Tale For All of Racing

Covering the first ever night of racing at Pompano Park, which took place Feb. 4, 1964, Earl Straight of the Fort Lauderdale News had this to say: "Harness racing has arrived in Broward County and it is going to be with us for a long, long time." He wasn't stepping out on a limb. With almost no competition for the gambling dollar, all forms of horse racing were thriving back then and there was no reason to believe that Pompano would be an exception. It was supposed to be to...

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Taking Stock: Tampa Bay's Big Day Showcased Top Outfits, Bloodstock

Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Florida, is a gem of a racecourse that doesn't get the accolades it should. Owned by Stella Thayer, president of the track and a member of The Jockey Club, and her brother, Howell Ferguson, Tampa Bay Downs is expertly managed day to day by Peter Berube, vice president and general manager, and Margo Flynn, vice president of marketing. This was obvious on Saturday--"Festival Day 42"--when the track showcased its signature event, the Gll Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, one of five black-type events on the...

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Festival Day Sets Handle Record at Tampa

Wagering on Saturday's Festival Day 42 card at Tampa Bay Downs shattered the previous single-day track record by more than $5.5 million. The total handle of $20,778,222 was a 36% increase from last season's Festival Day/Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby program. The on-track crowd of 5,381 wagered $751,667. The $3,686,488 wagered on the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is also an all-time Tampa Bay Downs record. "We are gratified by the tremendous support from our Tampa Bay area fans, our horsemen and bettors across the country," said Peter Berube, the...

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How 'Sweet' It Is For Dolce Zel in Florida Oaks

Making her U.S. debut as the 3-1 second-elect, Dolce Zel (Fr) (Zelzal {Fr}) fell into a golden trip from a perfect draw and pounced late to narrowly defeat stablemate Spicer (Quality Road) in Saturday's GIII Florida Oaks. It was a second straight Florida Oaks winner saddled by trainer Chad Brown and keyed a one-two finish for the second time in the day's graded events. Away without incident from the three hole, the bay filly--adding Lasix for her first stateside appearance--secured a cozy spot at the fence as Spicer prompted soft...

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Classic Causeway Coast To Coast in Tampa Bay Derby

Where it comes to Kentucky West Racing LLC and Clarke M. Cooper's Classic Causeway (Giant's Causeway), mapping out race strategy is a fairly straight-forward undertaking. For the second time in as many starts as a sophomore, the handsome chestnut found the front after breaking like a shot and widened his advantage late to take the GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and secure a berth in the starting gate in the GI Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in eight weeks' time. "That early speed is a great asset to have...

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Greatest Honour Returns in Challenger

After finishing behind the likes of future graded winners Olympiad (Speightstown), Speaker's Corner (Street Sense) and Known Agenda (Curlin) in his first three starts, the homebred followed up on a Gulfstream maiden win in late 2020 to take the GIII Holy Bull S. and GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. in his next three appearances. He makes his first start since finishing a well-beaten third behind Known Agenda in the GI Curlin Florida Derby last March. (Click for more from trainer Shug McGaughey in Steve Sherack's APB series) Also on...

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Alittleloveandluck a Dual-Surface Threat in Florida Oaks

With a near 100% chance of precipitation in greater Tampa, Saturday's GIII Florida Oaks is at the mercy of Mother Nature, but whether the race remains on the grass or is transferred to the main track, the Mike Dini-owned and -trained Alittleloveandluck (Arrogate) stands an excellent shot of getting her picture taken post-race. The gray tried open company in her first three appearances, rounding out the triple in a one-mile Parx maiden in October before besting her fellow Florida-breds by a nose in a sythetic-track test at Gulfstream Nov. 12....

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Classic Causeway Looks To Hold Serve in Tampa Bay Derby

Currently ranked number one on the TDN Triple Crown Top 12, Kentucky West Racing LLC & the Clarke M. Cooper Family Living Trust's Classic Causeway (Giant's Causeway) will attempt to further cement his position as a chief protagonist of the 2022 sophomore crop when he jumps a warm favorite in Saturday's GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on what projects a pretty wet afternoon on Florida's Suncoast. One of three from the final crop of the 'Iron Horse' and one of two in the race, the blaze-faced chestnut made the...

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Purse Increase at Tampa Bay Downs

Tampa Bay Downs will increase purses 6% for the second time this meet, effective Friday. All overnight races will now be worth an additional $1,000. The first increase, which took effect Feb. 10, also raised purse money by $1,000 a race. The increases come in the wake of the four overnight purse increases at the track's 2020-2021 meet. "Several factors have contributed to our ability to raise purse money again for our horsemen," said Peter Berube, the track's vice president and general manager. "First and foremost is the quality product...

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Pricey KEEJAN Purchase Belgrade Up in Time at Tampa

1st-Tampa Bay Downs, $28,600, Alw (NW1X)/Opt. Clm ($75,000), 2-19, 3yo, 7f, 1:24.10, ft, head. BELGRADE (c, 3, Hard Spun--Miss Prytania, by Eskendereya), a $700,000 KEEJAN purchase earlier this year off the heels of a six-length debut graduation for owner Randy Bradshaw and trainer Brendan Walsh in a maiden special weight reserved for horses that sold or RNA'd for $45,000 or less at auction at Fair Grounds Dec. 18, delivered as the 1-2 favorite after some anxious moments in his first start for his new connections at Tampa Saturday. Off to...

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