Officials at Tampa Bay Downs are seeking approval from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to continue hold live racing into the month of June, a total of eight dates on Mondays and Wednesdays, in an effort to “bolster horsemen uncertain of their next step,” according to a release from the track.
Tampa Bay Downs is currently racing each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through May 30. The meeting ends June 30, which is also the first day of the track's 'Summer Festival of Racing.' The program on July 1 marks the official start of the 2020-2021 Thoroughbred meeting.
“The last two months have presented a challenge unlike any our sport has faced,” said Peter Berube, vice president and general manager of Tampa Bay Downs. “Our trainers, jockeys, backstretch workers and security personnel have met it head-on and continued to provide racing that has brought positive recognition to Tampa Bay Downs.
“We are proud of how everyone has responded and are hopeful the additional dates, if approved, will sustain the majority of our participants until they move to their summer and fall bases of operation,” Berube added.
Tampa Bay has raced without spectators since Mar. 18 and has done so with strict protocols in place, including limiting person-to-person contact by designating one person from each barn to interact with veterinarians and farriers (horse-shoers); decreasing the number of people allowed in a tack room or office at one time; practicing social distancing; wearing masks; cleaning and sanitizing water and feed buckets, tack, grooming supplies and other implements often throughout the day; and taking employees' temperatures every day.