Tampa Bay Downs Gets Approval For 12 Additional Race Dates, Extends Meet Through May 30

Two months ago, plans already were underway to welcome 10,000 or more fans to Tampa Bay Downs this Saturday for a 12-race card, followed by the simulcast of the 146th Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve.

And in the days following a stunning victory by 49-1 shot King Guillermo in the Grade 2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 7, excitement built to a fever pitch among area fans eager to support the colt and his rider, Oldsmar jockey Samy Camacho, in the Run for the Roses.

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned those plans upside down, showing no favorites as lives have been disrupted around the world. The Kentucky Derby has been postponed until Sept. 5, and Tampa Bay Downs has slated a nine-race card for Saturday without spectators.

Resilience remains the name of the game, as horsemen and horsewomen seek a silver lining in the current situation. King Guillermo and Camacho will compete Saturday at Oaklawn Park in the second division of the G1 Arkansas Derby, with each division carrying a purse of $500,000.

Fans are not allowed at Oaklawn, but the entire card will be broadcast on FoxSports1 and TVG, with NBC Sports Network picking up the TVG feed for the stakes races, including the $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap.

On the home front, Tampa Bay Downs has received approval from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering to extend its 2019-20 meeting by racing 12 additional dates, bringing the total number of days to 102.

Following Sunday’s nine-race card, Tampa Bay Downs will conduct racing each Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through May 30. For record-keeping purposes, the meeting officially ends on Tuesday, June 30, the first day of the annual two-day Summer Festival of Racing, with the 2020-2021 meeting beginning July 1.

Tampa Bay Downs will not permit spectators throughout May, while requiring horsemen, handlers and track employees to continue following updated protocol procedures, including having their temperatures taken, wearing masks or face coverings, frequent hand-washing and maintaining social distancing.

Fans are encouraged to wager on the races through various account-wagering sites such as NYRA Bets, DRF Bets and TVG, and they can watch the races on the track’s website, www.tampabaydowns.com  Race replays are also available on the website.

The post Tampa Bay Downs Gets Approval For 12 Additional Race Dates, Extends Meet Through May 30 appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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