Tampa Bay Downs Will Continue Live Racing But, Starting Wednesday, Without Spectators
Tampa Bay Downs on Friday issued this news release about its decision to continue racing, but without spectators, for an indefinite period because of concerns over the Coronavirus. Friday, March 13, 2020 -- Following Sunday’s program, Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Fla/, will conduct Thoroughbred racing minus spectators for an indeterminate period due to ongoing concerns about the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
Starting with Wednesday’s card, the racetrack will be off-limits to all individuals except horsemen, jockeys, essential staff, state-licensed officials and accredited media. The track will suspend simulcast wagering on out-of-town racetracks after Sunday’s racing. (Editor's Note -- Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday will have a ten-race card with first post of 12:25 p.m. On Friday, it will have nine races, with first post of 12:25 p.m. There are no stakes races on either day. Tampa Bay Downs will have racing four days a week--Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays--through Sunday May 3.)
The Silks Poker Room and The Downs Golf Practice Facility will remain open until further notice, but no pari-mutuel wagering will be offered. The Tampa Bay Downs-owned Tampa Greyhound Track at 8300 N Nebraska Ave. will remain open for simulcasting and poker in the card room.
Sunday’s “Kids and Family Days” event in the Picnic Pavilion area at Tampa Bay Downs has been cancelled. Fans still will be allowed to congregate in that area, but are urged to follow all appropriate guidelines to avoid infection.
“Many factors enter into decisions of this magnitude, but our overriding concern is always the health and safety of our fans, our employees, our horsemen and the backstretch workers,” said Peter Berube, Tampa Bay Downs’ Vice President-General Manager.
“We cannot emphasize strongly enough the need for anyone who is ill or feeling under the weather to stay home,” Berube said. “Visitors to the track this weekend should follow health guidelines that include frequent hand-washing, covering one’s mouth when sneezing or coughing and minimizing contact with ‘high-touch’ areas such as countertops and door handles.
“We will continue to monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis while working with state and local officials, with the hope we can allow our loyal fans to return in the near future.”
Fans may still 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 .