Get an early look at several May horses as they run Thursday at Hollywood Park and Golden Gate. Hip 110 Miss Madavor (filly by Olmodavor) consigned by B.C.3 Thoroughbreds, Agent and Hip 68 Delta Magic (filly by Proud Irish) consigned by Tricar Stables will face off in the 3rd race Thursday at Hollywood Park. The last race on the day will include Hip 7 A Soft Breeze (filly by El Corredor) consigned by B.C. 3 Thoroughbreds. Up North action at Golden Gate finds Hip 119 Ringing Bernie (filly by Bernstein) consigned by B.C. 3 Thoroughbreds starting in the 2nd race on the day.
Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood Park’
A Dec. 22 Blood-Horse story by Deirdre B. Biles details L.A.C.F.A. president and CEO Jim Henwood’s vision for Fairplex in California racing.
With the impending demolition of Hollywood Park, a large void will be left in the racing calendar and many horsemen will be left without a place to train their horses. Fairplex Park officials want to expand the main track and add at least one turf course, among other upgrades.
From Biles’ story:
“Henwood would like to see Fairplex Park turned into an operation that would be a cross between Keeneland and the Palm Meadows training center in Florida.”
Some quotes from Henwood:
“We need to make certain that our racing programs (in California) are best suited to serve those two preeminent racing organizations [Santa Anita and Del Mar]. What we want to be is a great partner with them.”
“But the idea would be to create a facility that wouldn’t fall to land development interests. Its value would be based on its use for Thoroughbred racing and its importance for the economy in the state of California.”
Click here to read the full story.
A new Thoroughbred Times story provides more details on the Hollywood Park situation. Contrary to previous reports, the casino will be demolished but a new one will be built on the property. The lakes will also be relocated.
“The mixed-use development calls for the 238-acre site to be transformed into a compact, walkable, mixed-use community where residents can live, shop, and enjoy recreation. The two current infield lakes would be relocated as part of a 25-acre park. The plan also could include a school, library, or community center.”
Jerry McMahon, recently-resigned president of the Barretts Equine Ltd. auction company, said in a Blood-Horse interview, “I think we all wish there were more of those farms left than tract homes.” He also cited John Finney’s saying that “you can’t raise horses where people want to raise families.”
Though McMahon was talking about horse breeding, I think the same may apply to racing and many other recreational activities. There are just too many people that want to live in the same place - Southern California. Even the vital Central Valley area is getting paved over with tract homes.
I grew up behind a Thoroughbred breeding farm, but I didn’t perchance upon racing until the farm was already razed and covered with homes. All that remains horse-wise is race-themed street names, such as Seabiscuit Way.
Many people want to live in Southern California for the weather, attractions, and lifestyle, but it won’t be too fun if one day it is only cookiecutter homes, clogged freeways, and shopping malls.
We still need diversion, and I think there’s no better day than a day at the horse races.
Lava Man’s record-tying three-straight Gold Cup wins took the last three spots on the original Gold Cup Wall. With the track’s uncertain future, it remained to be seen whether or not they would add the names of the winners of 2008 and beyond. As I noticed November 30, they have added a new block in the front of the wall for 2008 winner Mast Track and whoever the 2009 winner may be.
The problem is that there is no year engraved beyond 2009, and the block isn’t too tall for many years beyond that. Hollywood has only committed to racing dates through next summer. The owner, Bay Meadows Land Co., intends to develop the land into commercial and residential property, leaving the casino and possibly the infield lakes.
The California Horse Racing Board approved 2009 racing dates with the assumption that Hollywood will race next autumn, but that will not be certain until a planned decision in May.
It’s set in stone that nothing’s set in stone for Hollywood Park racing.
California racing faces a trying time for the next couple of years, at least. Several tracks are at risk of closing or being sold, with one closing for good on August 17.
Bay Meadows in the bay area city of San Mateo is first on the chopping block. Opened in 1934, the historic track hosted racing legends such as Seabiscuit, Citation, Native Diver, Cigar, and the most recent star, Lost in the Fog. Johnny Longden, Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay, Jr., and Russell Baze all won races at Bay Meadows to aid in breaking the former’s record for most career wins. Baze, who gained many of his victories at “Baze Meadows”, is currently North America’s winningest jockey. The track also featured the debut of such technological breakthroughs as the photo finish and electronic tote boards and starting gates. Inside Bay Area provides a time line marking some of Bay Meadows’ most important moments. The current San Mateo County Fair runs now through August 17. Bay Meadows Land Co. owns the track property now and will profit from its redevelopment this fall. The loss of Bay Meadows means that only one major track, Golden Gate Fields, and several fair meets will have to fill the entire northern California racing calendar.
Hollywood Park has no set timetable, but it seems almost certain that it will be razed within the next couple of years. Bay Meadows Land Co. also owns the Inglewood property. They have committed to running through the 2009 Spring-Summer meeting, but beyond that there will be only a few months’ notice on the status of the track. Hollywood Park is dripping with even more history than Bay Meadows, and is an integral part of southern California racing.
On top of this “old” news, the Blood-Horse reported that Magna Entertainment Corp. is considering selling its Arcadia property, Santa Anita. The thought that one of America’s crown jewels of racing is at risk, especially at this juncture, is enough to send shivers up one’s spine. However, a September 2007 article in the Los Angeles Times reported that the track land can be used for horse racing purposes only.
One truth applies to nearly every horse racetrack in the country: the land itself is more valuable as a residential, commercial, or industrial property. This is not only true for a track, but also for many, many properties that are currently supporting sports venues, parks, or other diversionary uses that do not provide their owners a substantial profit, or the local government with enough tax dollars. With the advent of off-track betting sites and internet wagering accounts, on-track crowds have fallen across the nation, though betting has not suffered. The problem is that the tracks who host the actual, physical races for betting have lost out on the pie, and their suffering does not bode well for their future.
Racing fans in California and beyond are familiar with the big, dark bay/brown gelding with the black and fuchsia diamond silks, black blinkers, and red shadow roll. Lava Man began his racing career with an inauspicious fourth-place finish in a $12,500 claiming race at the San Joaquin County Fair. He has since become a multiple California-bred champion, the only horse to win a Grade 1 on three different surfaces, and the richest former-claimer in history, among other impressive accomplishments. While he has been lambasted for his failure to win outside of the Golden State, his racetrack exploits have won the hearts of thousands.
On Sunday the Lava Man bandwagon was rocked by his last-place finish in the Eddie Read Handicap (Gr. I) at Del Mar. His owners STD Racing Stable and Jason Wood, and trainer Doug O’Neill, are considering retiring their star that has won $5,268,706. The Blood-Horse reports that they will “huddle up and decide to do what’s best for the horse.” Thoroughbred Times’ headline reads “Multiple Grade 1 Winner Lava Man Retired,” and quotes O’Neill as saying that Lava Man is “unofficially retired.” The Daily Racing Form reports that the owners want to “rest on it for a week and reflect.”
Lava Man’s last six races have been disappointing to his connections and legion of fans. In lieu of dwelling on the present letdowns, remembrance of his heyday is in order. Lava Man’s first stakes win came in the 2004 Derby Trial Stakes right here at Fairplex. In the 2006 Pacific Classic (Gr. 1) he became the first horse to win California’s three major handicap races in the same year. His last stakes victory came by a nose in the Hollywood Gold Cup (Gr. I), in which he tied fellow California-bred Native Diver for a record three-straight victories.
Beside his racing highlights, the following that Lava Man gained was rare, especially in modern times. With their Lava Man hats, custom T-shirts, and cameras pressed to their faces, the horse was sure to have someone cheering him on at every step, race after race. This fan-made video captures some of the enthusiasm. Though his gallery of fans is no longer the size of Tiger Woods’, he is sure to always have visitors wherever he may reside.
That was the sound heard throughout racing on Saturday. It was a disappointment to say the least but that is why you have to run the race. The Belmont Stakes is a grueling race as is the whole Triple Crown. According to the press, Big Brown has come out of the race relatively unscathed but it seems that the quarter crack and possible affect on his training regimen prior to the race may have been more than we thought. So, on to next year!
But hey, all is not forlorn in the world of horse racing and particularly if you are in So. Cal. We have some great racing at Hollywood Park coming up with the Hollywood Gold Cup on June 28 followed by the American Oaks and Cash Call Mile on July 5th. Then it is on to Del Mar, seven of the best weeks of racing in the world beginning July 16.
Of course after that we have the “Funnest” racing in North America at the Los Angeles County Fair. We open September 5th and race everyday but Tuesday through September 24. We have a lot on tap for this year’s meet so stay tuned.
Finally, don’t forget about Oak Tree and the first of two years of the Breeders’ Cup in So. Cal. As of this point, we are hoping to be able to offer some great tickets to the Breeders’ Cup for fans who come out to live racing during the Fairplex Park meet so keep an eye out for that as well.
See, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Big Brown did a great job captivating the world for awhile. We have great horses just like him racing in California every weekend! Come out and enjoy them.
On Monday, May 26, 2008, the 9 yo gelding, Perfect Drift will make his seasonal debut in the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park. I can remember watching this horse run in the 2002 Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont. And similar to the great John Henry, Perfect Drift continues to race competitvely at a ripe old age.
So there are two important points here. First, the geldings in our business allow us to watch and cheer and develop a following since they will have no value in the breeding shed. It was great that the connections of Curln decided to race him at four but we are already getting prepped that this year will be it for him and also for the rising star, Big Brown. Second, perhaps we are gelding the wrong horses! Could Perfect Drift have replicated his soundness that allows him to be considered for a Grade 1 as a nine-year-old?
Brilliant speed and precocity sell horses. Perfect Drift was good enough to get to the Derby at 3 but really didn’t blossom until he was an older handicap horse. Thus he is not the model horse that breeders and consignors look for. Perhaps he was able to overcome his rivals at a later stage of life because they were also late bloomers without brilliant speed. Or perhaps he progressed at a slower rate, staying sound, and reaching the peak performance level at 4, 5 and 6.