Tampa Bay Downs applies for meet extension

Horse racing racking seeking to extend its current traditional seasonal meeting beyond originally scheduled May 3 closing day.

US.- Tampa Bay Downs has applied for an extension to its current traditional seasonal meeting schedule, which is set to end on May 3.

The renowned horse racing track is awaiting a response from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, allowing it to continue operations during lockdown measures.

The Florida oval is one of only five tracks in the United States still racing behind closed doors.

Those doors will remain closed and races will continue to be spectator-less during the Covid-19 outbreak. 

Tampa Bay Downs trainer Michael Stidham welcomed the news: “When Fair Grounds [Louisiana] cut their meet short, we had Fair Hill in mind.”

“That’s our summer spot anyway, and with it being a private facility, we were able to get out of Fair Grounds with about 45 horses that we brought straight up to Fair Hill.

“I had my string with my assistant Ben Trask at Tampa already. Since the track was able to keep racing, it made sense to keep them there.

“We’re among the lucky ones that actually have half of the horses running right now. At this stage in the game, we’re just happy to have somewhere to be running. It certainly helps our situation.”

Television viewership of horse racing in the US has tripled since lockdown measures were introduced, signally a new interest in the sport.

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