Archive for March, 2022

| posted by Joe Hice |

Tampa Bay Downs, a local gem, deserves more

TO JOHN ROMANO, Tampa Bay Times

Your Sunday column showed why you are always at the top of the list of sports columnists. You covered the strike from all angles and properly blamed both sides.

I know a lot of horse racing fans who would be happy if you wrote a column about Tampa Bay Downs on or before Saturday (March 12), when the eyes of the horse racing world will be focused on the Oldsmar track. Top trainers and jockeys from around the nation will be here hoping their shipped-in horse goes home with the majority of the $400,000 purse.

In addition to purse money, horsemen will want a share of the 85 qualifying points for a spot in the May 7 Kentucky Derby. The Tampa Bay Derby winner’s 50 qualifying points will all but guarantee a spot in the Derby.

After Derby points are recorded for the first four finishers Saturday, no more qualifying points will be available nationwide until March 26. But the trainers and jockeys won’t be the only excited ones and the only beneficiaries.

While the Downs is expecting a full house, fans and bettors around the nation will be focused on TV’s showing what is the most important race of the day. All the bets from other tracks and legitimate bookies will be directed to the local betting pools.

With bets coming in from around the country, the local parimutuel handle could reach $15 million, some of which goes to the state budget.

There are many fans at Tampa Bay Downs who bad-mouth the Times for never writing about the local track. I’d be glad to direct you toward some people who could be quoted.

A fact that is quoted often is that horse racing has continuously gone on since the track opened in 1926, and has been pleasing a certain breed of sports fan for more years than the combined years the Buccaneers, Lightning & Rays have existed.

So please consider applying your skills to what will be a major racing event and the biggest day of the year for Tampa Bay Downs, an employer of many local people and the source of much entertainment for many others.

Thank you,

Ron Stuart


| posted by Joe Hice |

3 Reasons Belarus is helping Putin destroy Ukraine



| posted by Joe Hice |

Dr. Lockwood’s take on The Situation in Ukraine

Dear Faculty, Staff, Residents and Students:

I am sure you are all saddened by the events unfolding in Ukraine. It is unimaginable that in 2022 we are seeing such wanton cruelty and atavistic behavior. History, it would appear, repeats itself yet again, allowing us to glance again at the barbarous side of humanity. The chronological record of sapiens is littered with the tragic machinations of tyrants, autocrats and bullies seeking to exploit the perceived vulnerability of neighbors for political, financial, and geographical gain. Thus, our hearts go out to the Ukrainian people who must now resist an unprovoked invasion by Russian forces led by a sinister autocrat surrounded by thuggish cronies.

The Spanish poet and philosopher Santayana said, “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” And because we failed to heed the lessons of the 1930’s we now are reliving through the anguish of Ukrainians what was felt by the Czechs, Poles and all those parts of Europe invaded by Hitler and his murderous Nazi thugs, and by the Chinese, Koreans and other South Asians subject to the horrors of invading militarism during World War II.

We were also woefully unprepared for those struggles. Americans then as now were attempting to regain their footing in the wake of an economic calamity; Americans then as now were wrestling with ideas of both democracy and authoritarianism; free market capitalism and socialism; appeasement and re-armament; isolationism and engagement. Then as now, foreign dictators sought to exploit what they misperceived as intrinsic weakness of democracies, but what was in fact the rigorous debate of an open society and a free people. Pre-WWII, the miscalculations of these dictators are what unified America and its allies and awoke in us a dormant martial vigor which rose to crush them.

Our current internal challenges in America, which just a few weeks ago seemed so important, pale by comparison to those being endured by the brave people of the Ukraine who are facing sophisticated weaponry, cyber-attacks and the unparalleled treachery of a superpower, albeit a failed and fading one. The actions of Putin and his willing accomplices make it clear that as a free people, we can never again afford to be so introspective, self-centered, and greedy as to miss the opportunity to resist forces which are antithetical to free civilizations.

We have underestimated and appeased the sitting governments in Moscow and Beijing, imagining that they shared our values. They most assuredly don’t! Ukraine should serve as a powerful stimulus to renew the same spirit which allowed us to resist and defeat the failed ideas espoused by the Axis Powers and then to endure and ultimately triumph in the long twilight struggle of the Cold War. A free people must always be vigilant. And while we rediscover our own martial spirit, let us do all we can to support the Ukrainian people.



Charles J. Lockwood, MD, MHCM
Senior Vice President, USF Health
Dean, Morsani College of Medicine