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Fairplex Proposes 1-Mile Track, Turf Course for '97

June 21, 1996|BOB MIESZERSKI

Unhappy about Hollywood Park's plan to run the last three weekends of September in 1997, in direct competition, Fairplex Park has come up with a proposal of its own.

During a meeting of the California Horse Racing Board's dates committee Thursday in Sacramento, officials from Fairplex Park said the Los Angeles County Fair Assn. plans to build a seven-furlong turf course and a one-mile track around the existing five-furlong dirt track.

James Henwood, Fairplex Park's president, said the project could cost as much as $10 million and that governmental assistance would be sought.

He added that if all went according to plan, construction would begin immediately after the 1996 meeting ends on Sept. 30 and might be completed in time for the 1997 season.

Hollywood Park had proposed a calendar for next year that would allow it to open for Friday night and Saturday afternoon racing while Fairplex was also running, on condition that half of the races would be run on turf and there would be no claiming races. Hollywood Park said its intent was to allow horses to prep for the Breeders' Cup, which will be run at the Inglewood track on Nov. 8, 1997.

Before Fairplex's announcement Thursday, the dates committee released another 1997 calendar for discussion and in it trimmed the Hollywood Park overlap with Fairplex to one three-day weekend, Sept. 19-21. Decisions on the race dates for next year probably won't be made until the August meeting of the CHRB.

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