Tampa Bay Downs 2015-2016

December 07, 2015 09:04am

Below is a look at Tampa Bay Downs for the 2015-2016 racing season through the eyes of a regular customer for the last twenty plus years. I will provide various information from a different point of view. 

The 2015-2016 season started this past Saturday, and runs through May 8, 2016. During this meet there are seven Saturdays that feature very good stake races. The dates for these days are 12/19/15, 1/09/16, 1/23/16, 2/13/16, 2/20/16, 3/12/16, and 4/9/16.

The biggest stakes day will be March 12, 2016, which is Festival Day. This featured card includes the following: The Hillsborough Stakes, a grade III race at a mile and one eight on the turf for older mares. The Florida Oaks, which is for three-year-old fillies at a mile and one sixteenth on the turf. The Challenger Stakes, for four-year-olds and up at a mile and one sixteenth on the dirt. The final stakes race is the Tampa Bay Derby a Grade II for three-year-olds at a mile and one sixteenth on the dirt. The top four finishers earn points for the 2016 Kentucky Derby.

Again this year, all of the available horse stalls have been reserved. This should provide full race fields, and some great betting opportunities. The top ten Tampa trainers to bring horses this year are as follows: Jamie Ness, Tom Proctor, Arnaud Delacor, Efron Loza Jr., Gerald Bennett, Larry Rivelli, Dale Bennett, Jason DeCosta, Sandino Hernandez, and Kathleen O’Connell. Clearly, these are some really good trainers with a lot of good horses.

The facility has two restaurants in the clubhouse section. There is the Sports Gallery on the first floor, and there is the main dining room on the third floor. There is a new executive chief that was recently hired to run these two restaurants. I have been lucky enough to sample his cooking in the last few weeks before the live racing started. Needless to say, he is a very good chef. I am looking forward to sampling all of his culinary creations this season. 

The one thing that I have noticed about Tampa Bay Downs is how dramatically the race purses have increased over the past twenty years. In the late eighties there were a lot of $2,500 to $3,500 claiming races with low purses. Now, with the addition of a Poker Card room, the purse structures have made significant strides. With the larger purses the quality of race horses participating at the track has greatly improved. This makes for a much more exciting racing program.

May the finish line always be your friend,

Big Daddy B


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Meet Bruce Workman

I graduated from Indiana State University with a BS degree in economics. I recently retired from my job as manager of the commissions department of a Third Party Administrator for multiple insurance companies after twenty years of service. My wife, Jean, and I have been married for thirty nine years. We have two wonderful children and one wonderful granddaughter. 

Like many others, my love of horse racing started at an early age. I was around thirteen when my parents started taking me to the track at Churchill Downs, and River Downs. My first and only Kentucky Derby was the year that Dust Commander won. Sorry to say I was in the infield with thousands of my closest friends. We had spent the night before sleeping in my car in line outside of the track. It was an experience I will never forget, and going to the Derby is something that every racing fan should experience. 


I must say that I am a lucky man because my wife also loves horse racing, and we are regulars at Tampa Bay Downs since we moved to Florida 27 years ago. Both of our kids spent a lot of time at the track with us at an early age. We used to take them to Churchill Downs at Thanksgiving time even when they still had to be in a baby carrier. So they both had early exposure to the sport we love.  My son really loves this sport as much as we do. My daughter does not share our level of love of horse racing, but she still has an interest.

Since I have many years of history to draw upon I hope to provide some useful information to the readers of my blogs. In addition I will try to take a look at some topics that may be controversial to some readers. My intention will be to make people think about the topics, and hopefully have additional conversations about those issues. 

I just want to take this opportunity to say thanks to express my views in my blogs on Horse Racing Nation. 

May the finish line always be kind. 



Big Daddy B

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