Description: Hollywood Park closed it's doors for the final time on December 22, 2013. For 75 years Hollywood Park has been one of the top showcases for North American horse racing.
Track announcer Vic Stauffer put on the finishing touches during the call of the last race and the horses raced around the clubhouse turn '...past the stables that have housed racing's immortals: Seabiscuit, Citation, Swaps, Native Diver, Affirmed, John Henry, Lava Man, Zenyatta...' and then as the field swept around the far turn '...past the lakes and flowers...' and into the the stretch at the furlong marker '...75 years down to 12 seconds...' and as Woodmans Luck and Depreciable came to the wire as one, calling the photo finish as a '...camera close up...that's a wrap!...' as they strode out past the finish line and the Photo sign lighted up for the final time.
The Hollywood Turf Club operated Hollywood Park for much of that time, it's chairman was Harry Warner of Warner Bros. and its stockholders numbered in the hundred of Hollywood's elite. At one time Hollywood Park was known as 'Where the Stars Come Out to Play'...meaning both the human and equine variety.
Churchill Downs, Inc. bought Hollywood Park in 1999 and in 2005 sold her to Bay Meadows Land Company. In 2012, TVG's parent company Betfair and Hollywood Park signed an agreement which was intended to '...transform the customer experience for fans at the venue as well as online and on television'; Hollywood Park (HOL) was renamed Betfair Hollywood Park (BHP), but it will always be Hollywood Park to me.
In May of 2013, track president Jack Liebau issued a statement to the employees that at the end of the 2013 fall racing season Hollywood Park would be closed. He said that the 260 acres that the race track sat on was more valuable if used for other purposes. And in light of racing's current business model it was inevitable that the land would eventually be developed for other uses. The casino is to remain, renovations are pending. The track itself will be demolished and the land used for housing, park land, and an entertainment complex.
The official 'paid' attendance was 13,283 but thousands more were admitted for free after the running of the fourth race. The roar of the crowd as the horses came down the stretch brought memories of racing's golden era, when race horses became front page news and horse racing was America's number one spectator sport.
"So many faces in and out of my life
Some will last
Some will just be now and then
Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes
I’m afraid it’s time for goodbye again
Say goodbye to Hollywood
Say goodbye my baby
Say goodbye to Hollywood
Say goodbye my baby"
Billy Joel “Say Goodbye to Hollywood” Drawing Daily Racing Funnies ®.
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