The track opened in 1926 under the name of Tampa Downs. The season lasted 39 days.
1947 saw the first official running with Sunshine Park Racing in charge. In 1965 the track was acquired by a group of Tampa people headed by Chester Ferguson and it was renamed Florida Downs and Turf Club a year later. In 1983 Arabian Racing was introduced at the track, the first in the nation to hold regular racing for Arabians.
In 1995 the Tampa Bay Derby and the Florida Oaks were run on the same day for the first time. 1996 saw the 70 year anniversary observed and the Florida Oaks was given Grade III status. Full-card simulcasting was passed by the legislature. 1999 saw the meet as the most successful in the history of the track.
2004 saw the track set records in 10 categories including handle and attendance. Track improvements included a new seven furlong chute, the track’s cardroom, and other amenities.