Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Fans should begin making plans for the 17th annual Florida Cup Day, to be held at Tampa Bay Downs on Sunday, March 31. The program includes six $115,000 stakes races for registered Florida-breds.
The menu includes the Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies and the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Sophomore, both for 3-year-olds at 7 furlongs on the main track; the DRF Bets Sophomore Turf, for 3-year-olds at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the grass; the Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf, for fillies and mares 3-years-old-and-up at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the grass; the Touch Vodka Turf Classic, for horses 4-years-old-and-up at a mile-and-an-eighth on the grass; and the Zaxby’s Sprint, for horses 4-years-old-and-up on the main track.
Recent Florida Cup runners include 2017 Turf Classic winner World Approval, who won the Breeders’ Cup Mile that year and was honored with an Eclipse Award as Champion Turf Male; two-time Florida Cup winner Imperial Hint, a multiple-Gr. I winner and two-time Champion Sprinter finalist; It’s Me Mom, who set the standing Tampa Bay Downs track record of 1:08.67 for 6 furlongs in the 2012 Sprint; and 2016 Sprint winner Catalina Red, a subsequent Gr. II winner.
The “Kids and Family Days” event is scheduled for Sunday. It's the final “Kids and Family Days” celebration of the 2018-2019 meeting and takes place in the Backyard Picnic Area, just north of the paddock. Admission is free.
Pony rides, bounce houses, slides and games are among the numerous activities for the younger set. The gathering spot under the big tent is within easy walking distance of the outside rail, giving everyone a chance to watch the stretch-run action.
Party goers can expect a visit from the track mascot, Mouse the Miniature Horse (FYI, she loves pats on the neck and peppermint candy). For many, “Kids and Family Day” is an ideal way to enjoy a laid-back afternoon of thoroughbred competition and introduce newcomers to the Sport of Kings.
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