Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bye Bye Hollywood

Today is a sad day in racing history.  After 75 years of thoroughbred racing, Hollywood Park is closing for good. The last race will be run this afternoon.  The 260-acre track in Inglewood, Calif., that hosted Seabiscuit will be turned into a housing and retail development starting next year.

(Pinterest photo)

Hollywood Park opened in 1938 under the direction of movie moguls Jack and Harry Warner. Celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Jimmy Stewart, Barbara Stanwyck 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 famous horse, Citation, at Hollywood Park, from Pinterest)

I blogged about the closing in May 2013, you can read that here.

Many are quick to blame technology for racing's demise.  According to the New York Times, of the $213.7 million wagered during Hollywood Park's fall meet last year, $20.3 million was wagered at the track. The rest came from off-track betting.

(Seabiscuit at Hollywood Park, from Pinterest)

The reality is that the land was too valuable.  In a few years, the famed racetrack will be covered over with McMansions, townhouses, a shopping center or two, but you can be certain they'll use cute names like Zenyatta Way or Pincay Street, much like they've down in the developments covering the former Maryland "hunt country" just north of Washington, D.C. 

The 215 full-time employees are looking for work and in a few years no one will remember. 


  1. Couldn't agree more...such a sad day. I have many fond memories of morning work at HP. As for the housing development, I don't think it will be all they hoped. The Casino will still be a centerpiece, and as for's still Inglewood, and even Angelinos aren't that dumb!

  2. Another door to an era closes. SO sad.

    Wanted to say thank you for your blog, I try to read each week, and though I don't always leave a comment, I always leave with a smile and my need for some horse in my life, fed.

    Best, Ang


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