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  • The Great War is off the Derby trail following poor finish in the BattagliaPosted 2 days ago
  •  Royal Son scores in the John Battaglia Memorial.Posted 3 days ago
  • Stellar Wind an impressive winner of the Santa Ysabel. Posted 3 days ago
  • Far Right shoots up the rail again to score in the Southwest Stakes. Posted 9 days ago
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  • No beating North Slope as he returns to dirt a winner in the Evening Attire. Posted 9 days ago
  •  International Star scrapes the paint to win the Risen Star.Posted 10 days ago
  • I'm A Chatterbox speaks loud and clear in the Rachel Alexandra. Posted 10 days ago
  • Itsaknockout wins the Fountain of Youth on the DQ of Upstart. Posted 10 days ago
  •  Chocolate Ride sneaks away in the Fair Grounds Handicap.Posted 10 days ago

Beyer: Stunning Declines at Tampa Bay Downs

At a time when much of the horse racing industry has been in decline, Tampa Bay Downs has been the sport’s shining success story. The Oldsmar, Fla., track attracted the attention of bettors from coast to coast by offering large, competitive fields with the potential for big payoffs, and its 2010-2011 winter season produced record results. Long regarded as a minor-league operation, Tampa averaged a stunning $4.57 million per day in wagers.

I have been a Tampa loyalist for years, and I was one of many horseplayers who eagerly anticipated the winter season that began in December. And I am one of many who have been disappointed and disillusioned about the decline of the track’s product. The fields aren’t as big. The races aren’t as competitive. The betting isn’t as interesting. Customers have responded accordingly. General manager Peter Berube said that wagering has dropped by about $500,000 a day – an abrupt reversal after years of growth.

The decline is by no means a mysterious phenomenon. Two crucial issues are involved. One is a factor that every handicapper confronts virtually every day. Another is a more corrosive problem that is going to affect most of the U.S. racing industry.
 
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