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Hollywood Park to Close After 75 Years of Horse Racing

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Everyone knew the day was coming and now it’s a reality. After 75 years of horse racing, Hollywood Park will end its operations following the final race of its autumn meeting Dec. 22.

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After 75 years of horse racing, Hollywood Park Racetrack permanently closed its doors Sunday.

hollywood-park

File photo (Credit: KTLA)

Eleven races were run on the last day at the facility, which is located in Inglewood.

The final race was won by Woodman’s Luck, a horse ridden by jockey Corey Nakatani.

Nakatani described the victory as “bittersweet.”

“Obviously, I was hoping this day would never end,” he said.

“It’s a day I hoped I’d never see, but unfortunately it’s happening,” said Bob Mieszerski, Hollywood Park Director of Publicity.

Mieszerski said up to 12,000 visitors were expected to walk through the doors on the last day.

The race track opened in 1938 under the chairmanship of Jack L. Warner — of the Warner Brothers film corporation, according to the Hollywood Park website.

hollywood-park-pi

(File Photo)

In 1939, Seabiscuit won the inaugural running of the Hollywood Gold Cup, the track’s signature race.

The bleachers were scheduled to be torn down immediately, but the stables and track will remain until January, to finish horse training, officials said.

Developers plan to build a hotel, housing development and retail shops on the site.

Hollywood Park officials said the existing casino would remain open.

After 75 years of racing, Hollywood Park Racetrack will permanently close its doors on Sunday.

hollywood-park

File photo (Credit: KTLA)

“It’s a day I hoped I’d never see, but unfortunately it happening,” said Bob Mieszerski, Hollywood Park Director of Publicity.

Eleven races were scheduled for Sunday’s last day of racing at the park, which is located in Inglewood.

The race track opened in 1938 under the chairmanship of Jack L. Warner — of the Warner Brothers film corporation, according to the Hollywood Park website.

In 1939, Seabiscuit won the inaugural running of the Hollywood Gold Cup, the track’s signature race.

Racing was suspended from 1942-44 due to World War II. It was temporarily closed again in 1949 after a fire tore through the grandstand and clubhouse, according to the site.

The 238 acre property was purchased from Churchill Downs in 2005 for $260 million.

Retail shops, townhouses, parks and even a hotel were expected to be built on the land as part of the Hollywood Park Tomorrow redevelopment project.

The existing casino will remain in its current place and undergo extensive renovation, according to the Hollywood Park Tomorrow website.

KTLA’s Kacey Montoya contributed to this report.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Everyone knew the day was coming and now it’s a reality. After 75 years of horse racing, Betfair Hollywood Park will end its operations following the final race of its autumn meeting Dec. 22.

Filephoto Hollywood Park Race Track

Hollywood Park will close Dec. 22 after the final race of the autumn meeting.

The words “sad day” were repeated often Thursday afternoon at the Inglewood track, where owners, trainers, jockeys and fans reacted somberly to the news.

The official announcement came in a letter from track President Jack Liebau sent to the California Horse Racing Board on Wednesday informing them that Hollywood Park Land Co. would not be requesting any 2014 racing dates.

Since the track was sold in 2005, developing the land has been the primary goal, especially since the business model for horse racing has been facing severe challenges from a dwindling horse population, lagging on-track attendance and continual infighting within the industry.

Read the complete story at LATimes.com.

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