A Day at the Downs

The horses take off at the Tampa Bay Downs

The horses take off at the Tampa Bay Downs

Reece Marley, Staff Writer

Over the weekend a few fellow Talon journalists and I went to the Tampa Bay Downs to watch some horse racing. The idea to head over to the Downs was first brought up by one of my friends who has a disturbing yet lucky gambling addiction. The day started with a quick lunch stop at Pollo Tropical on the way to the track. Another detour was taken when Brock said he couldn’t go to the track until 2:30 pm due to an orientation that he had to attend at Wendy’s for his new job. Cooper, Kevin, Alex (our gambling friend), and I stopped at Brock’s house to wish him good luck at his orientation at Wendy’s. We met Brock at the track after his interview and proceeded to have an eventful afternoon.

To get into the Tampa Bay Downs costs an arm and a leg. They charge a three-dollar admission fee, four dollars for a program, and still want my money for betting on horses. Brock was our tour guide through the Downs as he has been many times with his family. It was my first time at the track and my first time ever watching horse racing in person. I am a huge Kentucky Derby enthusiast, so I knew what was going on. Everyone besides Kevin was eighteen so we could place bets on our favorite horse. The races were exhilarating with the whole crowd cheering for those they placed bets on as the horses came around the final turn. I can see why horse racing is often called the “Greatest two minutes in sports.” Throughout the day, we saw five races and were there for two and a half hours. The races were spread out in thirty minute intervals to give time for set up and betting. There were races at different lengths and on different surfaces. There were multiple races on dirt and some on grass. After a long and fun day at the track I only ended up losing $10. I usually picked which horse had decent odds but was never the favorite. I also considered how much the horse was dancing around before the race before I placed my bets.  As for the others, they lost a bit more to the book. Alex was the only one to correctly pick a horse to win.

If you are looking for a fun afternoon with some friends, head over to the Tampa Bay Downs for an exciting time.