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Harness Racing Seeks a Return to Hollypark

September 10, 1986

Harness racing horsemen, discouraged by a lack of business this season at Los Alamitos, asked the California Horse Racing Board Tuesday to return their sport to Hollywood Park next year.

"The future of harness racing in Southern California is in Los Angeles proper," said Ron Beckman, president of the Western Standardbred Assn., which represents owners and trainers in California. "Our fans are not interested or able to travel to other facilities to watch the sport. We belong at Hollywood Park, which is a major league track."

Hollywood Park owns both the parent track in Inglewood and Los Alamitos in Orange County. Quarter horse racing, which previously had been run at Los Alamitos, was moved to Hollywood Park this year. Harness racing, removed from Hollywood Park and offered at Los Alamitos and at Fairplex Park in Pomona, has continued to struggle this season at Los Alamitos, where the average daily handle has been under $600,000.

"(Beckman's) request is not feasible in any sense," said Neil Papiano, Hollywood Park's chief counsel.

Papiano said that if harness racing returned to Hollypark, it would interfere with thoroughbred training at the track, that the racing surface for the standardbreds would not be compatible with thoroughbred needs, and that there would be a conflict with thoroughbred horse sales planned for the track.

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