What To Expect
Most simply, expect an action-packed day infused with unparalleled excitement. … filled with colorful sights, traditional sounds and indescribable feelings that only live Thoroughbred racing can create.
A race day usually consists of 8-10 races, all set at different distances and different skill levels—with between 6-12 different horses in each race (approximately 100+ horses you will see run in a single day).
The horses in each race will walk with their groom from the barn area on the backside of our racetrack, walking by the Clubhouse and the Grandstand on their way to the Saddling Paddock. Once they enter the Saddling Paddock, each horse will be identified and then saddled by their trainers in the Saddling Stalls. The horses will then be taken out to the Walking Ring—where visitors/bettors can get the best look at the horses, as their jockeys connect with their mounts.
You will hear the sounds of a bugle play the traditional “Call to the Post” as the horses file onto the track in the Post Parade. Once you get the chance to check out all of the horses, head over to the betting windows to place your bets—all wagers must be placed before the race begins.
With a race every 20-25 minutes, the action arrives fast and furious.
We are a family-friendly track and welcome kids of all ages to join in on cheering for their favorite horses and jockeys!
Where Do I Park
As soon as you drive toward the track, you will see numerous parking signs. General parking is free. Gates for the track-side parking lot open at 11 a.m. There is handicapped parking available at the Grandstand and Clubhouse entrances.
We also offer Valet Parking for $10.00/vehicle (located in front of the Clubhouse entrance at the southernmost end of our property).
What To Wear
As a family-friendly track, you will see a wide range of outfits from suits and dresses to shorts and tank tops, baseball caps and visors to fedoras and vibrant Derby hats. Whatever you decide on, we want you to be comfortable and have a blast! You might find our Florida style slightly more casual than other racetracks; we encourage you to wear lightweight, comfortable clothing and shoes. Keep in mind, since we’re so close to the beach, our weather can change quickly. You might also want to grab a raincoat on your way out the door!
We have a dress code for all visitors to the Skye Terrace Dining Room, located on the third floor of the Clubhouse. Gentlemen are required to wear a collared shirt and shorts and skorts are not permitted.
Where Can I Watch The Races
Where Can I Watch The RacesThere truly are no bad seats at Tampa Bay Downs! Fans can watch the races from the Grandstand or the Clubhouse, the apron areas down by the rail, or on any of the closed-circuit televisions throughout the racetrack. You’re welcome to explore all of the areas of our Grandstand, Clubhouse, Apron, and Backyard Picnic area!
How Do I Find A Winner
How Do I Find A WinnerThere are countless ways to find a winner! Some people start with the experts: Tampa Bay Downs’ handicapper Ren Carothers (@rencarothers) provides her selections before each race on the in-track, closed-circuit TV feed. Luis Ocasio’s picks are also available on Twitter (@LuisAtTampa). The track handicapper’s selections are available at the bottom of each race page in the program, and there are numerous other handicappers and methods to aid you in your search for success. Over time, hopefully you will gain confidence in your own expertise! Another helpful trick is to look for the leaders! The trainers’ and jockeys’ standings are referenced in our official race day program. Some people watch the horses in the Post Parade before each race. Observing body language can be a valuable tool in picking a winner! Keep an eye out for a horse with a shiny coat, nicely arched neck, spring in his step and has an alert, energized demeanor. Have fun with your family and friends! Sometimes your gut instinct about a name, a color of the horse, or even the jockeys’ silks can be your best bet!
What Is There To Eat
What Is There To EatThere is no shortage of delicious food and refreshing beverages throughout the track. In addition to the concession stands, popular eating and drinking spots include: Rider’s Up Bar (Grandstand 1st floor) Legends Bar (Grandstand 2nd floor) The Silks Bar and Grille (Grandstand 3rd floor) Sports Gallery (Clubhouse 1st floor) Skye Terrace Dining Room (Clubhouse 3rd floor)
What TimeThe first post time of each racing day is approximately 12:15 p.m., except on Festival Day and Kentucky Derby Day, when the first post time is noon.
How To Wager
- Name the TRACK and the NUMBER OF THE RACE that you would like to wager on.
- State the DOLLAR AMOUNT of your wager.
- State the TYPE OF WAGER you wish to make (Win, Place, Show, Trifecta, etc. ).
- Give the PROGRAM NUMBER of the horse or horses on which you want to bet.
- You can bet on a single horse to win, place, show, or on a combination of horses.
Examples: “Tampa Bay Downs, Race 2, $5 to win on number 3, please.” “Tampa Bay Downs, Race 6, $2 exacta box, 4 and 8.”
Remember to check your tickets and count your money before leaving the window, and always hold on to your tickets until the race is declared OFFICIAL.
Then, if you are a winner, go to any pari-mutuel window and collect your winnings!
What Should I Bring
Cash is the only accepted means to place a wager, so please keep that in mind.
We do accept credit cards in our On-Track Gift Shop, concession stands and bars, and our Skye Terrace and Sports Gallery restaurants.
You are welcome to bring cameras and encouraged to tag us in your posts and include #tampabaydowns!
You can bring coolers if you are planning to watch the races from the Backyard Picnic Area. Glass containers are not allowed. All coolers and bags are subject to inspection by Security.