HRFLA Staff Report
Tampa Bay Downs will open its 2020-2021meet on Wednesday Nov. 25, with nine races and first post of 12:25 p.m.
The Oldsmar, Fla., track will allow spectators on site. Because of COVID-19 precautions, they will be required to wear masks at all times and there will be a series of social distancing and sanitary requirements.
Tampa Bay will be one of the few U.S. thoroughbred tracks to allow spectators. Last season, Tampa Bay raced without spectators from March 18 through July 1.
Fans were able to bet on Tampa Bay races using Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) accounts and at simulcast locations that remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting Wednesday, it will again be a regular "day at the races" at Tampa Bay Downs. Track officials, fans and horsemen are hoping it will stay that way throughout the 90-day meet.
Wednesday's feature race is the eighth, with scheduled post at 3:54 p.m.
It will be the "race of the day" with track announcer, Richard Grunder's live call carried on Internet station RadioStPete Home of Radio St. Pete & Sunshine 96.7 - Radio St. Pete and Sunshine 96.7
in conjunction with HorseRacingFLA.
Bob Bauer, HRFLA handicapper and associate editor, will have pre-race and post-race commentary.
On each Tampa Bay Downs race day, Bauer will have a preview of the race card during RadioStPete's 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. newscasts. Air times will be approximately 8:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
Four of Wednesday's nine races are on the turf course, which is generally regarded as one of the safest and best-maintained courses in the country. Those races are the third, fifth, seventh and ninth.
The Weather Channel forecast is for a high temperature around 80 degrees and a zero percent chance of rain during racing hours. That indicates that Wednesday's races will stay on the turf.
Tampa Bay Downs will be dark on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), and then resume on Friday and Saturday.
It will start with racing on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and then add Sundays on Dec. 20. For the most part, it will have that four-day schedule through May 2.