Tampa Bay Downs Applies to Extend Meet that was suppose to end may 3rd.

Tampa Bay Downs has applied to extend its current traditional seasonal meeting beyond its originally scheduled May 3 closing day and is awaiting a response from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, according to track executive Margo Flynn. The Florida oval has been conducting spectatorless racing since March 18 and is one of only five tracks in the United States still racing behind closed doors as the COVID-19 crisis rages around the globe. "We're certainly looking to extend the meet for the horsemen," said Flynn, who confirmed the application April 21. Flynn declined further comment pending state approval, which Tampa officials hope could come this week. Trainer Michael Stidham, who has a string of 40 horses with assistant Ben Trask at Tampa, said he welcomes the news of a possible extension. With half of his horses stabled at Tampa and the remaining portion currently at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., Stidham has at least been able to keep his Florida string bringing in some revenue. "When Fair Grounds (Race Course in Louisiana) cut their meet short, we had Fair Hill in mind," Stidham said. "That's our summer spot anyway, and with it being a private facility, we were able to get out of Fair Grounds with about 45 horses that we brought straight up to Fair Hill. I had my string with my assistant Ben Trask at Tampa already. Since the track was able to keep racing, it made sense to keep them there. "We're among the lucky ones that have half of the horses running right now. At this stage in the game, we're just happy to have somewhere to be running. It certainly helps our situation."

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