by Mike Henry

Wagering on Saturday’s Festival Day 42 card at Tampa Bay Downs, highlighted by the Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, shattered the previous single-day track record by more than $5.5-million.

The total handle of $20,778,222, a 36-percent increase from last season’s Festival Day/Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby program, was the most of any racetrack in the country Saturday. Early-morning rain and overcast skies throughout the first half of the afternoon did nothing to diminish the passion of a crowd of 5,381 that wagered $751,667 on-track.

The $3,686,488 wagered alone on the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, won by Classic Causeway, is also an all-time Tampa Bay Downs record.

“We are gratified by the tremendous support from our Tampa Bay area fans, our horsemen and bettors across the country,” said Peter Berube, the track’s Vice President & General Manager. “The quality of Saturday’s card, which included five stakes races worth $1-million in purses, is a testament to the efforts of Racing Secretary Allison De Luca and her team.

“Our track maintenance department, headed by Tom McLaughlin, did a superb job under challenging conditions in keeping both the main track and the turf course as fair and safe as possible despite the severe weather early in the day. All of our employees deserve a big shout-out for their efforts in making the day so memorable,” Berube said.