Beautiful certificate from the West Coast Jockey Club
issued in 1926. This historic document was printed by GOES and has an ornate border around it with a vignette of an eagle with a city's coast line in the background. This item has been hand signed by the Company’s President, Harvey Myers and Secretary, and is over 85 years old.
Tampa Bay is a city of approximately 300,000 people located on the Western seaboard of Florida, nestled between Jacksonville and Miami. In 1926, Tampa Bay Downs was opened to the public, inaugurated by Ohio-based investors Harvey Myers and Matt Winn.
The Tampa Bay turf track and field club were created in 1934 - the option for both dirt and grass tracks increased crowd numbers and betting options. In 1943, the U.S Army took hold of the racetrack and morphed it into a training center and a location to build barracks for World War II.
In 1947, Tampa Bay created the first functional toteboard, electric starting gate and a photo finish camera in a nod to the technological advances that would further racing. While many racetracks later acquired these technologies, Tampa Bay was one of the only tracks to incorporate all of these features at the same time.
In 1953, Florida legislature passed a special bill that allowed the track to keep a 15% take and to pay a $4,000 daily fee. The track gradually began to show a profit, and clubhouse construction followed. In what proved to be a huge step for women in the world of horseracing, Lorraine King was named the general manager of Tampa Bay Downs in 1986, completing the only non-related all-female ownership and management team at a major racetrack.
In 1992, a "Picnic Area" was installed near the grandstand to give families a chance to enjoy the races in a calm environment. This was also the year the "Z-Alpha" display board was introduced, another technological advancement designed to keep bettors more informed.
In 2004, Tampa Bay Downs set records in 10 statistical categories, including a total attendance increase (11%) and a double-digit increase in total live all-source handle (24%). Track improvements for the year included a permanent tent over the picnic area and a new seven-furlong chute.