Attention all Tampa horsemen and betting gurus! Tampa Bay Downs will be lit up with thundering competition and high-in-the-sky stakes on Saturday, March 9, and you're not going to want to miss it. This Festival Day is the most lucrative of the season and is full of high-stakes races that amount to a million-dollar afternoon. These races will get your blood pumping (and hopefully fill your pockets too).

The Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby is the first big-money race of the day and one of the biggest of the 2018-2019 season, promising a hefty $400,000 prize pool. This race’s length is 8.5 furlongs, or one mile and one-sixteenth, and is featuring the most prestigious local three-year-old horses. To make the stakes even higher, the first four finishers of this qualifying race will earn 50, 20, 10 and 5 points toward the Kentucky Derby road to riches. This is a Grade II race, so expect some cream of the crop equine action that will make you feel alive!

Following the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby race are four more opportunities to play the high stakes during the day. The Challenger Stakes is up next with a whopping $100,000 guaranteed payout. This race is for four-year-olds and upward and is also 8.5 furlongs. The Columbia Stakes, which is the smallest of the high-stakes races of the day, has a $75,000 guaranteed prize. The Florida Oaks is sitting on a fat stack of $200,000, which includes a $50,000 win bonus from the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association, a not-for-profit association which represents much of Florida’s thoroughbred industry. This 8.5-furlong race is for three-year-old fillies. And last, but certainly not least of the day, is The Hillsborough Stakes, with the second-biggest payout of the day – $225,000. This Grade II race is for fillies and mares four-years-old and upward and is one mile and one-eighth long on the turf track.  

With five big-money races, the Tampa Bay Downs is presenting an action-packed Saturday with ample opportunity to raise the stakes and make it big. Don’t lose out on this packed-purse of an afternoon with some of the best entertainment and betting of the season.

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Cover photo courtesy of Unsplash