09/11/2013 2:26PM

Tampa Bay Downs raises purses for upcoming meet

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Purses at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Fla., will be raised 15 percent across the board when the track’s meet begins Dec. 4 due to a surge in revenues from the track’s new designation as a simulcast hub in the state, the track announced Wednesday.

Tampa Bay received host-track designation under Florida statute earlier this year by holding two isolated cards on June 30 and July 1, qualifying the track as a year-round racing facility. Gulfstream Park in the Miami area pursued an identical strategy this year, to the detriment of Calder Race Course, which had previously controlled the import of simulcasts in the state for most of the spring, summer, and fall.

Under Florida statute, live-racing facilities have the right to import simulcast signals and resell them to Florida parimutuel facilities, including greyhound tracks. The seller of the signal retains a portion of the revenue from the simulcasts.

Though Tampa Bay does not expect to release a full stakes schedule for its 2013-14 meet until next week, the track did say that its signature race, the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, will be held March 8. The track expects to hold 25 stakes races with total purses of $2.7 million during the meet, which is scheduled to run from Dec. 4-May 4, the track said.