In 1938 it began. This weekend it ends. And, jockeys like Martin Garcia are bummed. "We're very upset," he says about the shutting down of Hollywood Park adding "it's such a great place. There's nothing we can do."
There really isn't says Hollywood Park President Jack Liebau. He tells me "There are circumstances beyond anybody's control" which have to do with the increasing value of the track property versus the declining attendance at the 75 year old track. Says Liebau, "its sort of being closed because of the state of the business and the business is not just Hollywood Park, but racing in general."
The park does well in wagering, he says, but the online kind adding consistently low attendance, though, hurts the bottomline. "It's just at this point in time the land has become too valuable and the racing business isn't what it used to be."
Actor Dick Van Patten from TV's "Eight is Enough" is an avid fan. He says he even has a horse in one of Sunday's races. Sunday is the track's final day he, for that, Van Patten says "I feel very bad. I have a lot of memories."
When Hollywood Park opened in 1938 it was a place to be if you were a celebrity. You might see Walt Disney, Bing Crosby or any number of other famous faces. Famous face Dick Van Patten says you don't find many young celebrities showing an interest. He says "no, they don't go for it!"
Fans at the park for Friday's eight races will tell you things like "it's horrible. It's absolutely horrendous" the track is being torn down to make way for a retail and housing compclex.
But, it is happening and many of the 417 who staff the place will, according to HP officials, be looking for new jobs after Sunday.
Dick Warren hates to see it end. He's worked here 64 years. He'll be 87 next month. Says the oldtimer "it's gonna be definite. Too bad!"
(FOX 11 / AP) After 75 years of thoroughbred racing, Betfair Hollywood Park is closing for good.
The 260-acre track in Inglewood, Calif., that hosted Seabiscuit and the first Breeders' Cup in 1984, will be turned into a housing and retail development starting next year.
It's the second major California racetrack to close since 2008, when Bay Meadows near San Francisco was shuttered after 74 years to make way for a similar development.
Hollywood Park opened in 1938 under the direction of movie moguls Jack and Harry Warner. Celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant attended the races.
Among the star horses that ran at the track were Seabiscuit, and Triple Crown winners Citation, Seattle Slew and Affirmed.
Champion mare and 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta was based at Hollywood Park, and so was I'll Have Another, the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.
The Breeders' Cup began at the track in 1984, and was held there again in 1987 and 1997.
Some of the sport's fixtures began at Hollywood Park and spread throughout the industry, including Sunday racing, which debuted in 1973, and fan giveaways.