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Smiling Tiger - Hollywood Park, USA - 02.06.2011

Hollywood Park: set to shut in December 2013

  PICTURE: Alex Evers/EquiSport Photos  

Hollywood Park set to close at end of 2013

USA: Hollywood Park, host site of the first Breeders' Cup in 1984, will close at the end of 2013.

The historic venue stages 11 Grade 1 events, headed by its signature event, the Hollywood Gold Cup, plus a lucrative turf festival in November featuring the Hollywood Derby and American Oaks.

Only last year the track signed a landmark five-year deal with Betfair, renaming the track as 'Betfair Hollywood Park'in the first naming rights agreement for a horseracing track in the US, but the course will shut at the end of this year's Fall meeting on December 22.

The track's future has been in doubt for several years, and on Thursday a letter sent to the California Horse Racing Board, written by president Jack Liebau, confirmed the track will not seek racing dates for 2014.

Liebau said in the letter: "When Hollywood Park was purchased in 2005 from Churchill Downs Inc., (Hollywood Park Land Co.) stated that racing would continue for a minimum of three years, and promised that during the three-year period, a concerted effort would be made to improve racing's business model.

"Without success, (the company) spent millions on two statewide initiatives that would have brought slot machines to Hollywood Park,and thereby assured the continuation of racing.

"In the absence of a favorable change in racing's business model, the ultimate development of the Hollywood property was inevitable. Sadly for we who love racing and Hollywood Park, it was simply a matter of time."

Contigency plans have been formed in the event of Hollywood Park's closure, with Santa Anita and Del Mar set to stage additional fixtures.

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