Edited Tampa Staff Release – Allison De Luca, the Racing Secretary at Tampa Bay Downs, has released the first condition book for the 2022-2023 Thoroughbred season, which begins with the Wednesday, Nov. 23 Opening Day card.
The new condition book runs from Nov. 23 through Dec. 24. As she does each season, De Luca bases her books on the makeup of the Oldsmar horse population for the upcoming meet.
“We expect to have an outstanding offering of dirt and turf races for all levels of horses, from maidens up to stakes horses,” De Luca said. “Our program keeps growing in stature and popularity due to the condition of our racing surfaces and increases in purse money, combined with the outstanding weather.”
De Luca has also put the finishing touches on the stakes schedule, which is unchanged from last season (except for the actual dates).
It kicks off Saturday, Dec. 3 with a pair of 6-furlong, main-track juvenile races: the 37th edition of the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes for 2-year-olds and the 45th running of the $100,000 Sandpiper Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.
Tampa Bay Downs again will conduct 26 stakes races worth a total of $3.46-million in purse money. At present, there are seven graded stakes on the schedule. The biggest stakes day of the meet is the March 11 Festival Day program, featuring four graded stakes, including the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby for 3-year-old Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown candidates. Total stakes purse money that day alone is $1-million.
The Feb. 11 card, known as Festival Preview Day, includes four stakes races, highlighted by another Kentucky Derby prep race: the Grade III, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes. Both the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby and the Sam F. Davis are contested on the main track at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth.
Both races are “Road to the Kentucky Derby” qualifying events, awarding points to the first four finishers toward qualifying for a berth in the Run for the Roses on May 6 at Churchill Downs.
Two $175,000 graded stakes will be run on Feb. 4 at a distance of a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf course: the Grade III Tampa Bay Stakes for horses 4-years-old-and-upward and the Grade III Endeavour Stakes for fillies and mares 4-and-upward.
Horses will begin arriving at Tampa Bay Downs when the barn area opens on Wednesday. The main track opens for training the following Wednesday, Nov. 2.