Tampa Bay Downs Festival Day will be held this year on March 11, 2017. Hosted in Bay Downs, Tampa, Florida, this year the event is set to be the most massive racing day in the history of horse track racing, with a $760,000 pot up for grabs just in stakes purses! The Festival will feature the 37th Grade II $350,000 race for Triple Crown qualified 3 year old candidates, the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby.
Between 1995 and 2010, the Florida Oaks and the Tampa Bay Derby were featured together on the race card. This occurred again in 2013, alongside the Hillsborough Stakes, where fans were provided with three graded stakes with a combined total of $700,000. Since 2011, this has been a Grade II event, and with the race’s growing in popularity in recent years it has now been officially listed as a prep race for the big Kentucky Derby.
What You Need to Know about 2017’s Tampa Bay Derby
Other Tampa Bay showcase events which will be featured include, the Columbia Stakes worth $60,000, the Challenger Stakes worth $100,000, the $150,000 Hillsborough Stakes (Grade 3), and of course the $200,000 Florida Oaks (Grade 3).
Wild Shot and McCracken, who both ran the Sam F. Davis Stakes last weekend for their first run since the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on November 26, 2016, will be returning to Tampa Bay for the 2017 Derby. Wild Shot is the son of Trappe Shot and is based at Payson Park. McCracken won 3 times at Churchill Downs in 2016 and has excelled since his return, beating Wild Shot by 3 1/2 lengths and setting the pace ahead of Tapwrit and State of Honor.
A Recap of the 2016 Derby’s Greatest Moments
In 2016, Bay Downs hosted the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby Stakes for $350,000 on March 12. The results were nail-biting; the 7-2 third choice for Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Destin achieved his second straight win at the Tampa Bay track, only this time he broke the track record. The win banked Destin 50 qualifying points for his spot in the “Run for the Roses” held in May 2016.
In second place came Outwork at 4-1 odds, and he also got his 20 qualifying points. Next was Star Hill at 14-1 odds who claimed his 10 points for the Road to the Kentucky Derby. In fourth came Rafting who was followed by Tale of S’avall. Behind him was Riker, followed by the favorite Brody’s Cause with 2-1 odds who was unfortunately bumped right at the start. Awesome Banner came behind him, followed by Economic Model, with Morning Fire having been scratched from the card.
Don’t miss any of the Tampa Bay Derby action
Adding to the festivities of Tampa Bay Festival Day, the first 7,500 fans through the gates, which will open at 10.30am, will receive a commemorative umbrella. The post time of the first race is 12 noon. If you can’t make it to Tampa Bay for the 2017 Derby, fear not, you can still have a part of the action. Place your bets online at MyWinners, and you might be thrilled with a win or two.