We are sad to announce that Dennis Lima passed away May 24th, 2023 at 12:30pm. Per his wishes there will not be a service. His wife Celeste was by his bedside.
LIMA, Dennis, of Oldsmar, Fl., died Wednesday, May 24, 2023 after a brief illness. He was 77. Lima worked in the Thoroughbred racing industry for more than 60 years, the past 30 as an Association Steward at Tampa Bay Downs racetrack. He was a State Steward at Delaware Park from 2003-2021. He became involved in the sport in the early 1960s while a high school student at Pawtucket West in Rhode Island when his older brother Eddie took him to nearby Narragansett Park. Lima worked as a groom and hotwalker, and after graduating from high school he came to Tampa Bay Downs (then called Sunshine Park) to work as an assistant trainer. In subsequent years, Lima trained his own horses in New England, was an assistant trainer and owner and worked as a jockey’s agent. After switching paths to the racing office, he served on the Massachusetts fair circuit and at Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts and Rockingham Park in New Hampshire as a placing judge, paddock judge and entry clerk. Lima was named an alternate steward at those tracks in 1987, becoming a full-time steward three years later. He worked in that role at Rockingham from 1990 until the track closed in 2002. Lima was hired as an Association Steward at Tampa Bay Downs in 1993, establishing a reputation for integrity and fairness while striving to ensure a maximum level of safety for jockeys and horses and protecting the interests of the wagering public through fair, consistent rulings. Lima is survived by his wife, Celeste; their children, Monique and Shaun; several grandchildren; and a son, Dennis E. Lima. He was predeceased by a daughter, Melissa. Per his wishes, no service will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Suncoast Hospice Foundation, 5771 Roosevelt Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33760.