Horse Racing

Tampa Bay Downs Avoids Damage From Hurricane Idalia

An executive from Tampa Bay Downs said the Florida track largely avoided flooding and sustained no damage from the Aug. 30 arrival of Hurricane Idalia that impacted other parts of the state.

Margo Flynn, vice president of marketing for Tampa Bay Downs, which is not in the midst of an ongoing meet, reported “very minor flooding in the usual low spots, and no damage to the frontside or backside.”

Tampa Bay Downs runs primarily from fall through spring.

Rain and storm surge from Idalia led to flooding in some area neighborhoods and busy roads, causing temporary shutdowns for some bridges between Tampa and the St. Petersburg area. The Tampa Bay Riverwalk in the downtown Tampa area was one area that experienced flooding.

Some schools and businesses in the region re-opened Aug. 31.

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Idalia came ashore Wednesday morning as a Category 3 storm near the rural town of Steinhatchee, about 150 miles to north of Tampa Bay Downs in the western part of the state along the Gulf of Mexico. It then continued northeast into other regions of Florida before continuing into Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina as a tropical storm. It is expected to head back out into the Atlantic Ocean Thursday.

There were very few reports of storm damage in the city of Ocala in Central Florida and its surrounding areas, where numerous farms and training centers are located.

Training centers in South Carolina saw heavy rain and wind from the storm. Franklin “Gloree” Smith, owner of Elloree Training Center near Elloree, S.C., said the farm saw five inches of rain from the storm and wind downed a tree on the property but the farm avoided damage.

“We didn’t have any roofs blown off or anything like that,” Smith said. “I’m most worried for some of the farmers around here who were getting ready to harvest. Some of them saw seven inches of rain. They might see some significant losses.”

Travis Durr Training Center near St. Matthews, S.C. received some wind and rain but also fared well.

Paul Anderson, superintendent of Camden (S.C.) Training Center, said they saw a lot of rain but the property held up well.


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