OLDSMAR, Fla — Things will look a bit different for those headed to Tampa Bay Downs for the opening day of horse racing. 

Following a year of COVID restrictions, the team at Tampa Bay Downs used the off-season to make some improvements to the property. 

They refurbished and repainted the grandstands, clubhouse, barn, and paddock and added synthetic turf to the paddock walking ring to help with drainage.

“The turf course looks as good as it always does, and the dirt course has always had a reputation of having a very fair surface and being very forgiving for horses,” said Mike Henry, a longtime track employee. 

For the trainers and staff, 78 new tack sheds were added to the stable area and 7 new wash stations have been added for the horses. 

Beyond the track, there’s a new teeing area at the driving range with artificial turf and an additional poker room with 3 more tables.

The first race for the season begins at 12:43 p.m. ​