Inglewood, California 90301
Hollywood Park is a thoroughbred race course and poker card room in Inglewood, California, about three miles (5 km) from Los Angeles International Airport and adjacent to the Forum.
The track was opened in 1938 by the Hollywood Turf Club. The racetrack was designed by noted racetrack architect Arthur Froehlich. Its chairman was Jack Warner of Warner Brothers, and its 600 shareholders included many other Hollywood luminaries. Al Jolson and Raoul Walsh were members of the founding Board of Directors and Mervyn LeRoy was a director from 1941 until his death in 1987.
Hollywood Park closed from 1942 to 1944 due to World War II, being used as a storage facility. In 1949, the grandstand and clubhouse were destroyed by a fire; the rebuilt facility reopened in 1950. In 1984, the race track was extended from 1-mile (1.6 km) around to 1 1/8 miles around prior to the first Breeders Cup race. In 1986, the turf course was similarly expanded from just over 7/8 of a mile around to just over 1-mile (1.6 km) around. A card club casino was added to the complex in 1994. Churchill Downs, Inc. bought the facility for $140 million in 1999. The previous owners of the track renamed their company Pinnacle Entertainment to concentrate on its gambling interests.
In July 2005, Churchill Downs sold the track to the Bay Meadows Land Company for $260 million in cash. Under the terms of the deal, the company, which operates Bay Meadows in San Mateo, was to continue thoroughbred racing at Hollywood Park for at least three years. According to Bay Meadows officials, the continuation of Hollywood Park as a racing venue after that depends on California allowing more gambling, like slot machines, to the track. (The Orange County Register, July 7, 2005)
Some of the Hollywood Park land has been sold to real estate developers to build a new housing community called the Inglewood Renaissance. Development began in 2005.
New grass was planted on the turf course after Hollywood Park's spring-summer meet in 2005. Due to safety concerns, however, turf racing was not conducted for that year's autumn meet. As a result, several major stakes races that comprised Hollywood's Autumn Turf Festival were cancelled that year.
After the conclusion of Hollywood's spring-summer meet in 2006, it was announced that a second chute would be built inside the turf course to accommodate sprint races at six furlongs. This follows a similar move by Monmouth Park to build a turf chute for sprint races.
Notable events at the track:
- Hosted the inaugural Breeders' Cup in 1984 and also hosted the event in 1987 and 1997.
- In 1951, Citation became the first million-dollar-winning horse by winning his final start, the Hollywood Gold Cup.
- On December 10, 1999, Laffit Pincay, Jr. surpassed Bill Shoemaker's all-time record for race wins by a jockey.
- Cesario (JPN) becomes the first Japanese-bred, Japan-based racehorse to win an American stakes race in nearly 50 years, winning the July 2005 American Oaks.
The track has a 1.125 miles (1.811 km) dirt oval. It also has a 1 mile (1.6 km) turf oval. The track regularly seats 10,000 people. A new Cushion Track racing surface was installed in September, 2006 to replace the existing dirt, making Hollywood Park the first track in California to meet the California Horse Racing Boards guideline that all tracks in the state replace dirt surfaces with a safer artificial surface by the end of 2007.