01/07/2015 12:00PM

Tampa Bay Downs buys shuttered greyhound track


Tampa Bay Downs has reached an agreement to buy a dormant dog track approximately 15 miles away in order to keep the facility’s simulcast operation up and running, Tampa Bay Downs’s general manager said on Wednesday.

The agreement, which is still subject to regulatory approval, will allow a wholly owned subsidiary of Tampa Bay Downs to operate Tampa Greyhound Park’s simulcast facility, which offers betting on Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds, greyhounds, and jai alai, according to Peter Berube, the general manager of Tampa Bay Downs. Berube said the simulcast facility does approximately $14 million in handle on horses each year.

“We knew the property was for sale, and we had become somewhat nervous that a developer would go in there and close the simulcast operation,” Berube said. “It’s a big source of revenue for our purses, and what we’ve found is that when a simulcast facility closes, that handle just disappears.”

Tampa Greyhound has not run live dog races since 2006, when the track reached an agreement to run its race dates at Derby Lane in St. Petersburg. Berube said he expects that arrangement to continue. Under the agreement, the subsidiary of Tampa Bay Downs will take title to the track’s racing license and property.