Located in Inglewood, California, Hollywood Park Racetrack was designed by well-known racetrack architect Arthur Froehlich, and was opened by the Hollywood Turf Club in 1938. At the time of its opening, the racetrack’s chairman was Harry Warner of the very successful Warner Brothers movie company, and its shareholders included Hollywood celebrities Jack Warner, Al Jolson, Raoul Walsh and Mervyn LeRoy to name a few. Hollywood Park Racetrack has had a very interesting history (it hosted the first Breeders’ Cup in 1984) and has played host to a plethora of celebrities, both human and equine (the legendary Seabiscuit being one of them), so the news that the racetrack will close by the end of the year was no doubt a disappointment to many horse racing fans.
The announcement was made on Thursday June 6, 2013, that Betfair Hollywood Park will not be applying to the California Horse Racing Board for 2014 race dates. While disappointing for many, the announcement did not come as too much of a surprise for those who have been following developments at the racetrack since Churchill Downs sold it in 2005 to Hollywood Park Land Co. The new owner committed to continuing with racing at the track for a minimum of three years with the focus on turning the track’s negative financial state into a positive one. But Hollywood Park has not been immune to the decline in wagering and race attendance experienced nationwide and the decision was taken to close the track. The current summer meet will continue as planned through to July 14, with the fall meet opening on November 7 and the final race being run at Hollywood Park Racetrack on December 22. The stables at the track will be closed by the end of the year.
The closure of Hollywood Park leaves a number of 2014 racing dates up for grabs by other racetracks in Southern California. With its live racing seasons running from late December to early April, and again in early fall, Santa Anita Park is likely to pick up most of the events, while others may go to San Diego’s Del Mar racetrack and Los Alamitos Race Course and Fairplex Park in Los Angeles.