December 26, 2013 |
Santa Anita Park couldn't have ordered up nicer weather Thursday for the traditional day-after-Christmas start to its winter/spring meeting. "We always come to opening day," said Virginia Derossi of Manhattan Beach as she and her family basked in 80-degree sunshine next to the paddock area. "It's just our holiday tradition. " For horse racing fans, Santa Anita's opening - which drew a healthy 30,540 spectators - also was a welcome antidote to the final race Sunday at the 75-year-old Betfair Hollywood Park track, which is set to close.
December 22, 2013 |
The bugler in his green coat and top hat tried to sound upbeat as he blew the traditional "Call to Post," but he might just as well have been playing a dirge. Down by the rail, Todd Matzner listened with a cigar stub clamped between his teeth. "I wasn't going to miss this, no way," the horse racing die-hard said. "Even if it's kind of sad. " Sunday marked the last gasp for Betfair Hollywood Park, a 75-year-old racetrack that had once been a sparkling jewel of the city. The Inglewood landmark, which has fallen victim to declining revenue industrywide, will have its grandstand razed and its racing ovals dug up. Shops, offices and residential units are planned for the spot where fans once cheered for horses such as Seabiscuit and Zenyatta, not to mention renowned jockeys Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr. "The track's closure is a major loss," said Alex Waldrop, president and chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn.
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December 22, 2013 |
After 75 years, Hollywood Park will host its final races Sunday before closing for good. Eleven races are scheduled for the track's final day, beginning at 12:30 p.m. and ending with the $200,000 King Glorious Stakes for 2-year-olds. The Inglewood racetrack, where Seabiscuit won the inaugural running of the Hollywood Gold Cup, has seen some of the greatest thoroughbreds in history race -- Citation, Swaps, Ack Ack, Native Diver, John Henry, Landaluce and Zenyatta, among them. PHOTOS: The long goodbye Formed in 1938 under the chairmanship of Jack L. Warner, of the Warner Bros.
December 9, 2013 |
Horse racing has problems, which is like saying rain makes the grass wet. It is a sport in which the toothache never goes away. Conversely, it has its moments, its shots of adrenaline. On a glorious November day at Santa Anita, a huge horse trained by a tiny woman and ridden by a 50-year-old grandfather who had taken seven years off won the $5-million Breeders' Cup Classic. It was such a good story that moviemakers must be scrambling to line up Kathy Ritvo and her aptly named horse, Mucho Macho Man. The jockey part is easy.
November 7, 2013 |
With only seven horses racing and Seattle Slew the clear favorite, many of the 68,000 people at Hollywood Park thought they had a sure bet picking him to finish among the top three. Yet, few cheers boomed out for Seattle Slew at the finish line that summer day in 1977. The just-anointed Triple Crown winner had been embarrassed in the Swaps Stakes, finishing fourth, 16 lengths behind J.O. Tobin. Some considered it the biggest disappointment in Hollywood Park's history -- until this year, when racetrack owners announced the autumn meet that begins Thursday would be the last season in Hollywood Park's 75-year run. Named by its film industry founders, Hollywood Park began as a glitzy oasis in Inglewood for both the rich and those hoping to strike it rich.
November 4, 2013 |
Horses and jockeys were on the move Sunday returning to their home bases after the two-day Breeders' Cup races at Santa Anita, but Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez remained at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena after having his spleen removed following a spill Saturday during the Juvenile Fillies. He was listed in serious but stable condition in the critical care unit. Agent Angel Cordero Jr. told the Daily Racing Form that Velazquez is expected to be hospitalized four to five days and won't ride again in 2013.