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Betfair Hollywood Park spring-summer season opens Thursday

Opening-day card in what could be the racetrack's last spring-summer meeting features the $70,000 Harry Henson Stakes for 3-year-olds going six furlongs.

April 24, 2013|Eric Sondheimer
  • Jay Cohen blows on the Herald trumpet to call the horses to the track for his 25th year on April 26, 2012 at the opening day at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Jay Cohen blows on the Herald trumpet to call the horses to the track for his… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

Betfair Hollywood Park begins what could be its final 49-day spring-summer meeting Thursday.

The California Horse Racing Board is scheduled to move forward on 2014 racing dates at its next meeting on May 23 in Sacramento, even though Hollywood Park has not publicly stated whether the track will shut down at the end of this year.

Jack Liebau, president of Hollywood Park, said last week that people seem to be assuming the Inglewood track will not have racing next year. "They may be right; they may be wrong," he said.

Hollywood Park has been considered a potential commercial real estate site, and with the economy picking up, some outsiders expect the racetrack to finally close after this year.

Santa Anita and Del Mar racetracks have been discussing extending their annual meets to take over if Hollywood Park closes.

But there is uncertainty over the potential loss of available stable space for horses if Hollywood Park is immediately demolished for commercial development.

Hollywood Park is scheduled to run six Grade I races during its spring-summer meeting, topped by the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup on July 6.

The opening-day card features the $70,000 Harry Henson Stakes for 3-year-olds going six furlongs.

Saturday is California Gold Rush Day, featuring eight stakes worth more than $1 million for horses bred in California, highlighted by the $300,000 Snow Chief Stakes for 3-year-olds.

Hollywood Park will also showcase the first races of the year for 2-year-olds.

Rafael Bejarano, who dominated the jockey standings at Santa Anita, is expected to be much in demand at Hollywood Park.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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