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HOLLYWOOD PARK

Official Blames Santa Anita for Nevada Simulcasting Hitch

November 09, 1996|BILL CHRISTINE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California says that Santa Anita has given Nevada race books undue leverage in their negotiations for a simulcasting contract with Hollywood Park.

"This is further testimony about how fouled up the sport of racing is," said the TOC's Ed Friendly. "I find it both bewildering and absurd."

When Hollywood Park's fall meeting opened Wednesday, no contract was in place between the track and the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Assn., which represents more than 40 race books. Consequently, telecasts of Hollywood Park's races have not been transmitted to Nevada, which derives much of its off-track betting handle from Southern California tracks. Some days Nevada will handle $500,000 and more on California races. When the race books have a contract, their handle is co-mingled with all of the other money bet on the races.

According to R.D. Hubbard, chairman of Hollywood Park, one of the issues is the length of the contract. The Nevada race books want Hollywood Park to sign a multiyear deal, similar to the agreements they have with Santa Anita and Del Mar. Hubbard says that his hands are tied because the Thoroughbred Owners of California, whose authority stems from the Interstate Horse Racing Act, won't approve more than one year.

"That's right," Friendly said. "And Santa Anita was wrong in signing a multiyear deal. All we approved was one year."

Cliff Goodrich, president of Santa Anita, said that his track signed a four-year contract with Nevada to increase the takeout that the track receives from bets there.

"I guess the TOC could block the second year of our contract if they wanted to," Goodrich said.

Friendly declined to speculate on that possibility, but said that Santa Anita's long-term contract has put Hollywood Park in a tough position.

"The TOC is the only constant in all this," Friendly said. "The tracks are in competition with each other, when they should be working together. All they're doing is hurting one another. Santa Anita and Hollywood Park are both members of the Federation of California Racing Assns. But what meaning does that group have when something like this happens?"

Another stumbling block between Hollywood Park and the Nevada race books is the track's commission from betting. Goodrich said that his track's cut reached the 3.5% level for the first time at last winter's Santa Anita meet, and Hollywood Park is believed to be asking for 5% during the current negotiations. Attempts to reach representatives of the Nevada Pari-Mutuel Assn. on Friday were unsuccessful.

On good days, a track can take in $20,000 as its share of betting from Nevada. The race books' share of a $500,000 daily handle would be almost $80,000. A track's take must be split evenly with horsemen, whose share goes to a purse fund.

"Anything could happen," said Eual G. Wyatt Jr., Hollywood Park's general manager, "but I don't anticipate a settlement this weekend."

*

With small fields in both races, trainer Randy Bradshaw is in a good position to sweep today's $100,000 Maker's Mark Stakes and Sunday's $100,000 Hollywood Prevue.

In the four-horse Maker's Mark, Bradshaw will saddle High Heeled Hope, whose three wins in six starts include back-to-back victories at Keeneland last month. High Heeled Hope, who broke her maiden at Hollywood Park in July, races for Ernie Paragallo, who also owns Unbridled's Song, the 1995 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner whose 3-year-old campaign ended in disarray.

In the Hollywood Prevue, Bradshaw's hope is Thisnearlywasmine, who will have a rematch with In Excessive Bull, the colt he beat by three-quarters of a length when they met in the Sunny Slope at Santa Anita last month.

Sunday's distance is seven furlongs, an eighth of a mile farther than the Sunny Slope. Others entered are Robynhood, Constant Demand and Golden Bronze.

*

Trainer Wayne Lukas, unhappy with the ride by Gary Stevens when Serena's Song finished second in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, has named Donna Barton to ride the 4-year-old filly today in the $200,000 Churchill Downs Distaff. Barton last rode Serena's Song when they finished third in the Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park in August.

Horse Racing Notes

Brian McGrath, whose tenure as commissioner of the Thoroughbred Racing Assns. ended in the summer of 1995, 18 months before the completion of a three-year, $2.1-million contract, has been named a senior vice president for international business development at the Music Corp. of America. . . . Eddie Delahoussaye, hospitalized about a week ago for treatment of a virus, returns today and will ride Constant Demand on Sunday in the Hollywood Prevue. . . . Dernier Empereur, winner of the Burke Handicap last Monday at Santa Anita, will run in the Japan Cup in Tokyo on Nov. 24. If Chris McCarron rides Awad in Tokyo, trainer Ben Cecil said that he will hire Gary Stevens to ride Dernier Empereur. McCarron took over in the Burke for Pat Valenzuela, who hasn't ridden during the opening days of the Hollywood meet. . . . Stevens, who rode in Hong Kong on a regular basis in 1995, has the mount on Comininalittlehot in the Hong Kong Invitational Bowl on Dec. 8.

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