Tampa Bay Downs Commences Winter Meet

Fans who have waited patiently for Thoroughbred racing to return to Tampa Bay Downs get their reward Wednesday with a nine-race card that marks the continuation of the track's 88th season.

The centerpiece of the meeting is the Grade II, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby, a traditional stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands. Oldsmar’s showcase for budding 3-year-old stars will be joined on the blockbuster March 8 Festival Day card by the Grade III, $200,000 Florida Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the turf course and the Grade III, $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes for older fillies and mares, also on the turf.

The 91-day meeting will be highlighted by the richest stakes schedule in track history and the Tampa Bay Downs Million Dollar Derby Bonus, which offers $1 million to the owners of any three-year-old that wins its $250,000 Sam F. Davis on February 1; the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 8; and the Kentucky Derby on May 3.

Post time for Wednesday's first race is 12:30 p.m. (EST).

After an off-day Thursday, Tampa Bay Downs will return to action Friday and Saturday, with Saturday's Cotillion Festival Day card featuring a full slate of two-year-old racing, including the $100,000 Inaugural and the $100,000 Sandpiper, which kick off a banner stakes schedule worth more than $2.7 million.

Handicapping Tampa Bay Downs

Daily Selections full-card analysis is available for Aqueduct, Hawthorne, and Tampa Bay Downs not only Wednesday but also throughout their entire meetings. Tampa runs through Kentucky Derby day, Saturday, May 3, 2014, and features 15% takeout on its daily Pick 5 and 18% takeout on two Pick 4s daily.

Of course, Ultimate Past Performances and data files are available every day for all tracks.

Bet Tampa Bay Downs horse racing online with TwinSpires and watch free horse racing replays for FREE on TwinSpiresTV!

Tampa Bay Downs 2013-2014 Meet Information

Dates: December 4, 2013 - May 4, 2014

Tampa Bay Downs horse racing schedule: Tampa Bay Downs will conduct racing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays during the month (with the exception of Dec. 25, when the track is closed); as well as Sunday, Dec. 22, Thursday, Dec. 26 and Sunday, Dec. 29.

Post Times: post time for the first race is 12:25 p.m. ET, unless otherwise noted

Tampa Bay Downs Racetrack Information

Main track (dirt): 1 mile, oval with 3/8 and 7/8 mile chutes
Width of stretch: 75 feet
Composition: Sand and clay composition

Turf: 7/8 mile in circumference with a 1/4 mile chute
Width of stretch: 80 feet
Composition: Tifton #419 Bermuda turf

About Tampa Bay Downs Racetrack

Tampa Bay Downs is the only Thoroughbred race track on the West Coast of Florida, and is known as one of America's oldest and most well-maintained racetracks. Tampa Bay Downs first opened its doors in 1926 under the name of Tampa Downs, and has since had a long and colorful history. The present owner purchased the track in 1986, and since then Tampa Bay Downs has been continually improving.

Tampa Bay Downs added its 7/8th mile grass track, complete with a ¼ mile chute, in 1998, and has become one of the most popular turf courses in North America. The millennium brought even more amenities to Tampa Bay Downs, including the Downs Golf Practice Facility, which allows patrons to practice their swing while viewing and wagering on simulcast racing; as well as The Silks Poker Room, the card room that has become one of the hottest spots in town. Both are open 7 days a week.

Tampa Bay Downs Racetrack is pleased to once again partner with Lambholm South for Cotillion Festival Day Presented by Lambholm South, Festival Preview Day Presented by Lambholm South and the Lambholm South Race of the Week!

The Oldsmar oval is scheduled to resume live racing in December of 2011. Prior to the opening of Tampa Bay Downs's 85th racing season in December of 2010, the Tampa Bay Derby received a purse boost to $350,000 and a new Grade II status, cementing the race as a major stop on the Triple Crown trail.

Past Tampa Bay Downs Meet Information

2012-2013 Winter Meet