Tampa Bay Downs will not have any turf races on Wednesday.
The day's fourth, sixth, eighth and tenth races were scheduled for that surface--but will instead be run on the dirt track.
First post is 12:22 p.m. for a ten-race card. There are no carryovers. It is likely that scratches will be announced prior to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday.
The Oldsmar, Fla., track made the announcement of the surface switch late Tuesday on its Web site.
By making that change the night before Wednesday's card, rather than several hours before first post, Tampa Bay Downs is showing its concern for handicappers--including our readers.
It did not cite a reason for the surface switch. However, weather was no doubt the factor.
Heavy rain fell in the Tampa Bay area on Sunday, leading Tampa Bay Downs to move all of the day's scheduled-for-turf races to the dirt that was listed as Sloppy and was sealed.
At the end of Sunday, water was deep on several portions of the course and other parts of the infield.
Light rain fell in the Tampa Bay area on Monday. Skies were clear in most of the area on Tuesday.
Now, Tampa Bay Downs is giving the turf course extra time to dry out.
Thursday is a dark day as usual in Oldsmar--where racing will resume on Friday.
By not rushing back to turf, Tampa Bay Downs is following what we and many others have found to be its strong concern for the safety of horses and jockeys.
The Tampa Bay management team also is demonstrating its concern for the upkeep of the turf course.
It will have racing four days a week through May 5.
By giving its turf course an occasional break, Tampa Bay each meet keeps its turf course green and relatively un-torn up throughout its five-month season.
- Jim Freer and Bob Bauer