Tampa Bay Downs on Wednesday announced a ten percent increase in race purses and a postponement of the $100,000 Turf Dash Stakes and the $100,000 Lightning City Stakes from Sunday Feb. 21 to Wednesday, Feb. 24.
Tampa Bay was dark Thursday and will resume racing on Friday with nine races and first post at 12:15 p.m.
The fifth, seventh and eighth races are scheduled for turf.
The Weather Channel forecast for the Tampa Bay area is for a 20 percent chance of rain during racing hours.
The purse increase will begin this Saturday and it will be for all races except stakes with an additional $2,500 for all allowance races, including maiden special weights, and $1,250 for all claiming and starter races.
The purse increase amounts to approximately $15,000 more per day in total purse money.
Tampa Bay Downs said it is able to raise purses because of "ongoing gains in simulcast revenue." It did not provide any dollar amounts for the recent gains and it did not say how much of the gains have been from various components such as advance deposit wagering..
Tampa Bay Downs previously increased purses by 10 percent on Dec. 16 and again on Feb. 3.
Early this week, the Oldsmar, Fla., pushed both races back from back from this Saturday Feb. 20 to Sunday Feb. 21 because of recent heavy rains and the prospect of more rain later this week.
With more rain forecast later this week, the decision was made to give the turf course plenty of time to dry out and create conditions as equitable as possible for all runners.
The Turf Dash is for 4-YOs and up, and the Lightning City is for fillies and mares 4-YO and up. Both races are five furlongs on turf.
In a statement, Tampa Bay Downs said: |"With more rain forecast later this week, the decision was made to give the turf course plenty of time to dry out and create conditions as equitable as possible for all runners."
Tampa Bay has not held races on turf since last Friday Feb. 12. On its three race days since then it has moved all of its scheduled-for-turf races to the turf.
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HorseRacing FLA staff