High Anxiety in California

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Can’t blame horsemen in California for having a little high anxiety.

Bay Meadows Land Company bought Hollywood Park from Churchill Downs in 2005. The owner is a development company, not a racing company, and it has been public knowledge for the better part of these last eight years that the Track of Lakes and Flowers would meet the wrecking ball as soon as zoning approvals and financing were approved. BMLC similarly bought, closed, and bulldozed Bay Meadows racetrack in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Well, that day of reckoning for Hollywood Park is coming soon. According to most accounts, 2013 will be the final year of live racing at the Inglewood, Calif., track.

The California Horse Racing Board has been ineffectual in producing any kind of Band-Aid solution to the gaping wound that will be left in the stabling and training of Thoroughbreds with the disappearance of nearly 2,000 stalls. That’s not to mention the absence of a racetrack to run live racing in 2014 from late April until mid-July and again in November and December.

It’s not fair to blame the current CHRB for inaction. Other commissioners have come and gone over the last eight years and done nothing to resolve this serious problem. The most recent CHRB chairman, Keith Brackpool, decided to give up being a regulator and joined the Stronach Group to help operate the state’s two other for-profit racetracks, Santa Anita Park and Golden Gate Fields.

Horsemen are unhappy (even for horsemen) to the point that some of them are talking privately about cutting off their noses to spite their face (which is what a boycott of the entry box is akin to). They don’t know what they want, but they don’t want the inertia that has produced this crisis. One trainer who decided to take action on his own was John Shirreffs, who packed up his Hollywood Park stable and headed east to Belmont Park.

The solutions are not easy or obvious. If they were, this would have been resolved years ago.

Yes, Santa Anita Park will almost certainly race longer into the spring and possibly summer, though the turf course will need a break. Del Mar has restrictions on when it can open in the summer, though it will likely run a short fall meeting of some type, especially since track officials want to host the Breeders’ Cup in the near future.

But there’s no solution yet for stabling.

Interesting that the CHRB and its new chairman, David Israel, rushed out a press release yesterday (a Sunday!) announcing the formation of a new Ad Hoc Committee on Racing and Marketing Initiatives to work with the industry “on creative ways to enhance the sport in California.”

The press release said the committee, to be chaired by CHRB vice chairman Chuck Winner, would also work to “find additional incentives to encourage trainers and owners from other parts of the country to race their horses more often in the state.”

One incentive might be to develop a plan for a future that is looking increasingly bleak.

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  • http://twitter.com/racetrackandy Andy Asaro

    When you have no clue form a committee and do a study. That always produces results. NOT

    We have people in key positions at the CHRB and TOC without any good ideas and without any solutions.

    • WILLIAM L. ANTON

      Nor do they have good intent in what they do other than remain self serving non productive horse persons for the industry.

    • Linda Taylor

      Not to be cynical but could there be a concerted effort by someone in competition with horse racing, perhaps casino’s, to create an illusion of internal chaos and then blame it on corruption? Is it possible someone is intentionally manipulating wagers, disrupting ticket sales to produce a specific end result? Who would want you out of business and why.

  • Richard C

    Such issues blur from state-to-state, but the outcomes are eerily similar — the various groups are too willing to battle over their slice of the diminishing pie…instead of thinking forward for the betterment of farms & tracks & vendors.

  • Roger

    This is a sinking ship with no lifeboats and no Captain steering the ship to a safe and productive future.

  • David

    Where is it written markets have to be served by multiple tracks? May have made sense a while back but why now? California has an opportunity to contract its year-round schedule into an ideal facility that serves horsemen and patron far better than with two plants. Let Los Al and the Fair do their thing and year-round (save Del Mar maybe) enjoy one of the most beautiful settings in the world.

    • nu-fan

      Totally agree with you. In a sport thst is declining, is anyone surprised about this development? And, for those who lambast CA–keep in mind that this is just the continuation of what is–or will be–occurring elsewhere. It makes fiscal sense to keep expenses as low as possible; otherwise, the business goes belly-up! With SA in the south and GGF in the north, those two main tracks can serve thoroughbred racing in the state on a year-round basis. Of course, DM and the northern Fair Circuit provides short term breaks for these two main tracks to do repair work and needed renovation. But, folks, horseracing is not what it used to be. Need to consolidate and survive. Life is continuous change and those who do not adapt to it, become extinct.

  • http://twitter.com/polarcritter polarcritter

    Places like Arlington and Churchill are probably going to be beneficiaries of this mess. Seems like no one in a leadership role in CA cares about the product and only cares about a money grab. Santa Anita racing has been pathetic the past few weeks adding more dates isn’t going to help next year at all.

  • Sharon

    Forming a committee to bring more horses to this Titanic is ludicrous and so sad. Santa Anita is in as much trouble as Hollywood Park. Stronach is 79, living in Austria, forming a political party, living on his post bankruptcy money while Keith Brackpool is taking down the chandeliers and remodeling the Turf Club to “save $500. in security”–and to build a nightclub for the Breeders Cup people to enjoy? Talk about imploding…As for Hollywood Park–there is no reason for it to close. These breeders, trainers, owners, need to get out of their bubbles and start asking questions of Stockbridge Capital Group (Bay Meadows Land Co.) and the City of Inglewood. There is zero possibility in even the distant future to demolish and dispose of the concrete and asbestos (who pays for this?) much less borrow 2 billion to build the urban paradise of homes, shopping, parks, etc. that involves a 11 years building process. After 8 years, Bay Meadows in San Mateo (now revenue strapped) is just now building a few townhomes–a wasteland. This is Inglewood’s primary revenue source, and the elephant in the room is Walmart!!! They own 66 acres of Hollywood Park. Does anyone think that Walmart is going to let anyone build around their property? Their plan to build a Walmart was rejected by the voters 11 years ago, and they certainly haven’t forgotten!! Don’t even get me started on the Casino–remember the great plan for Hollywood Park Tomorrow involves keeping the casino with high priced retail and 1000 homes around it!! Oh yes, that’s going to work-NO. There are 2 horses buried in the infield–Native Dancer and Landaluce..what happens to them? This Stockbridge Capital project will never happen, and the sooner the light is being shined on this debacle, the better.

    On opening day, Thursday, I will enter by the fountain that Jack Liebau won’t turn on and go to the wall with Seabiscuit as the first winner of the Hollywood Gold Cup and hope that the southern California horse racing people come their senses and (to quote Doug O’Neill a few years back) and save Hollywood Park because it is such a treasure before it’s too late.
    It’s not too late.

    • Don Reed

      Quite the manifesto. Self-indulgent. You lost me in the second sentence.

    • http://www.facebook.com/denise.s.knight.5 Denise Smith Knight

      HIALEAH

    • gues

      Yeah good luck with the “they won’t build it plan”. It is their property, they can do whatever they want.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1527969315 Greg Scherr

      I have been a fan, owner for over 30 years in So Cal, the problems here are almost ALL self-inflicted. The fact is the property was bought to be developed, it now will be, to say there are 2 horses buried there so it will NOT be developed is actually funny, the bones will be removed. The good horses, trainers and races are all being held elsewhere now, we have graded stakes races but they’re run with 4-6 horses, there is NO horse population and it will only decrease the next 2-3 years as breeding was way down 2-3 years ago. There will be no good stables moving here and who wants $5-$10k claimers from Lone Star or Turfway moving here. Do what I have been doing for the last 1-2 years, follow a very good circuit i.e. Woodbine, Gulfstream, Keeneland, Saratoga and play those tracks of full fields, larger payouts, and more honest results, let So Cal/No Cal continue their race to the bottom. They will probably have to decontaminate the dirt at Hollywood park due to all the chemicals in the dirt in the barn area (and syringes).

    • Black Helen

      I think you mean Native Diver, not Dancer.

    • Carol Kaye

      I’m sure its just a typo on your part Sharon but Native Dancer ‘the grey ghost of Sagamore’ is buried at Sagamore in Md. I know, I used to ride past his grave every morning and of course always that always made me think of him.

      • http://www.facebook.com/david.rose.587 David Rose

        SHE MEANT NATIVE DIVER!

    • http://www.facebook.com/normajean81258 Norma J Fullmer

      Native Diver is buried in the Garden Paddock at Hollywood Park under a
      monument designed by Millard Sheets.

    • SaveHollywoodPark

      Stockbridge has no money to develop, by the way. Oh, and what ever happend to the 5-year naming rights deal Betfair has with Hollywood? Did that just go out the window after 1 year? Seems strange they’d pay huge money for that and just walk away? HP closing in 2013 doesn’t really make sense whe you think about it. And beware of Stronach…it wasn’t too long ago he was ready sell off Golden Gate at the drop of hat when Lawrence Livermore laboratories was looking at that property. And now knowing Brackpool, the little lion man, suddenly working for Stronach, makes you wonder what conflicts had gone on at CHRB prior to that???? Creepy. The CHRB should doi more to save the track than get into a pissing ocntest with the ownership demading they ask for racing dates quicker. Seems they are in contrast to their own ‘mission statement” for that’s worth.

  • Gary Fenton

    It isn’t the CHRB’s job to build a race track. They regulate the industry; not a stakeholder in it. It’s ironic that when the TOC did try to get involved (see TOC/Santa Anita), they were blasted for “self serving/conflict of interest”. Now you’re essentially complaining these boards don’t do anything. Which is it? The bottom line is no one has stepped forward to invest capital in the industry. And that is the industry’s fault, collectively, not the CHRB or TOC.

    I’m not also not sure how John Sherriff’s leaving is a sign of trouble either. Nice guy, but had 47 starts (of 4,975 starts) at SA in 2013. 0.9%.

    And as far as I can see, year round racing at Santa Anita and Del Mar seems like an improve over the 2013 schedule.

    • http://twitter.com/racetrackandy Andy Asaro

      The CHRB controls dates and the TOC controls takeout. Both of these entities have made great contributions to the decline of California Racing.

    • RayPaulick

      You’re right, Gary, the CHRB’s job is not to build a racetrack, but part of their mission is “promoting horse racing, breeding, and wagering opportunities.” The CHRB has had the opportunity to work as a facilitator among the various groups (racetracks, owners, state government) but has failed to get any traction on a plan.

      As for TOC getting blasted for trying to get involved in a possible acquisition of Santa Anita when MEC was going bankrupt, I was not among those who complained. I also think leasing Santa Anita to TOC on a long-term basis is a good idea if it ensures continuation of racing there beyond the immediate future.

      Who knows, maybe someone will step in and buy Hollywood Park, but BMLC paid $260 million (Churchill bought it six years earlier for $140 million), so I doubt it’s going to be cheap.

      • swiss305

        I agree that it’s possible the track will change hands again. The Bay Meadows development took a long time getting started and only looks profitable because it is being built right beside a commuter train to San Francisco. The Hollywood Park development plan is very pie in the sky and dependant for profitability upon a sudden, GREAT economy and a sea change in the surrounding community. There are gambling-interested, cash- rich investors across the Pacific who might be enticed.

      • http://twitter.com/SpectacularBid David Johnson

        We can tell that Churchill Downs loves our sport! Nothing like selling a racetrack to a land developer.

  • Don Reed

    “The solutions are not easy or obvious. If they were, this would have been resolved years ago.”

    Ray, it pains me to disagree, but I will. If the answers were obvious, the crew that’s been running CA racing in the past two decades would have had us, perversely, on a quick-step schedule that would be even more dire than what we see today.

    In other words, the article above would have been the last one to appear prior to the disappearance of CA racing on or about 1991.

    P.S. Let’s credit Mel Brooks with the “High Anxiety” lead. Dreadful movie.

  • Greg

    Where is Betfair/TVG in this? They signed up for five years with Liebau and all they get is their name on an uncared for track? They stand to lose out in more ways than one if the place closes and I sense no urgency on their part.

    For all on here declaring the death of racing, Hollywood Park’s handle is still relatively strong in light of the economy. This is a business that can work at Hollywood Park, or even thrive with some attempt to improve the track and casino. Why is the sport so eager to allow this to become Bay Meadows South when, as the commenter notes, nothing promised has happened there and it sits largely abandoned still?

    • Kris

      Good points, Greg. Yesterday, I sent the TOC an email asking why they haven’t purchased Hollywood Park. Plenty of rich people are members of the TOC and they can even turn the track into a non-profit. HP, despite the neglect of the current management makes money, just imagine what they could do with some real leadership.

  • Jay

    Where have you gone Brian Mcgrath? No national direction in 1995 and none now. We are getting what we deserve.

  • Robb

    If Frank Stronach wants year long racing somewhere, he might have a better shot getting it in California. With Hollywood going out of the picture, he can– and I really expect– him to push for Santa Anita to get all of the dates outside of Del Mar and Fairplex, quality of the product and the turf course be damned.

    If I was the god of California racing, I’d run at Santa Anita to mid-April, then move over to either Fairplex or Los Alamitos through Memorial Day weekend. Then open Del Mar on Memorial Day weekend; basically, make it like the west coast Monmouth Park. Come back to Fairplex for the LA County fair, then to Santa Anita for the fall meet and back to Del Mar for what was Hollywood’s fall meet. Ideally, you pick either Fairplex or Los Alamitos and make either track a full-fledged thoroughbred course with a mile oval and a 7 furlong turf course. But that doesn’t seem likely to happen.

    • 2hoursfromsaratoga

      Couldn’t the inner dirt(the old harness track) be turfed ala Saratoga?

    • swiss305

      Counter-proposal: Santa Anita until Memorial Day weekend. Two week break. Del Mar from mid-June to end of August. Fairplex first three weeks of September. Two week break. Santa Anita mid-October until mid-December. Two week break for holidays. Reopen January 1. Repeat. At the same time, expand Santa Anita stabling area to mitigate loss of space at Hollywood. Best plan of all: find a way to make Hollywood work as a race track, invigorate the whole community and the sport and leave things as they are. I still believe (maybe foolishly) that the last scenario is possible with the right vision and the will to make it work, if the development company ever threw in the towel.

      • Trixxee

        Unfortuniately I don’t think Del Mar will give up their annual county fair dates in early summer to expand racing on the front end of their season and there’s not enough room for both the fair and racing to happen simultaneously.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jack-Twee/100000596714235 Jack Twee

    The Horsemen have no respect for the Horseplayers.Serves them right.

  • onlythebest

    Truth be told, Hollywood Park is in Inglewood, one of the worst areas of L.A. It can be pretty scary just driving there if you are a woman. I certainly can’t see new homes there being the hot ticket since home prices in better areas of town have not fully recovered. They would be better served running Santa Anita longer (how about giving us back Oak Tree), extending Del Mar and FairPlex. Stronach has been after this for a long time and he usually gets what he wants. I know for sure, someone needs to make Santa Anita an Historical Site or next time Franks stamps his little feet, it could be gone also. Stable space is the problem but there are other locations that need to be looked at such as Riverside, Newhall, San Fernando areas. I’m sure Frank would rent out space at the Training Center or Polo Grounds since he holds the title on those also. The “Little Man” has done some long term planning while everyone else just sat by and waited for the other shoe to drop. Listen, I think I just heard it hit the floor!

    • nancy

      Yes, “Inglewatts”, as the rest of the LA residents call it, is awful. And in the LAX flight zone. Who would want to live there? For your nightly entertainment, you can go to the Fleabag Motel or the liquor store, complete with gates. The first time my friend drove me through there, I was appalled.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1552502235 Michele Beisser

        Inglewood is not that bad, have you ever been to Belmont or Calder Nancy? watts is no where near Hollywood Park. Drive 5 minutes to Westchester or 10 min to Hermosa or Playa del rey etc….

        • http://www.facebook.com/david.rose.587 David Rose

          DON’T FORGET PIMLICO! IT’S IN A ROUGH AREA TOO…PROBABLY WORSE THAN INGLEWOOD

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1566321236 Casey Phillips

      Inglewood is not as nice of an area as Santa Anita- the difference between the two is as stark as night and day. The idea of building luxury high rise apartment buildings that lie directly between the flight path(S) of LAX is ludicrous. We’re talking two different runways with flights that come in and out all the time. Other construction plans include shopping centers. Behind Hollywood Park the area isn’t as bad, but from Prairie Avenue, (the main entrance) the entire area is really depressing. I personally enjoy Hollywood Park because of its history and because it’s the home of the Queen. But now, who knows.

  • Kathy Baldwin

    InI am with you Sharon and will not give up hope for Hollywood Park. By the way, I go to the races

    there by myself, all the time, and have never had any problem in Inglewood, ever! And I am a middle aged white female, if that matters. My stepfather (passed away in 2010 at age 100) worked

    there and was present on opening day June 1938 and said it was as packed and popular as any

    other track including Santa Anita or Del Mar. All the tracks in California, north or south, were great
    and could be again! My father rode there in the late 30′s and early 40′s leading up to WW II and

    said the same thing.

    If the current owners were savvy enough they would try to restore it and bring back the Breeder’s

    Cup. Wasn’t Hollywood Park the first race track to host the event? Why build useless/needless

    buildings that will sit half empty like so many other places? And that goes for all states, not just

    California! This track should be appreciated for the historical landmark that it is!

  • jttf

    if you want to increase business. please the fan. fans think horse racing is controlled by a few trainers who have the best meds/peds. this makes it unfair to the small stables. they cant compete and will go out of business. that means less horses and smaller fields. fans want larger fields. which means less workouts and more races run. mcpeek just said that one race equals two workouts. fans want the star horses to run more often. star horses bring large crowds. decrease the number of horses using lasix. most horses dont need it. this will increase the number of starts for each horse. fans would like lower takeouts so they can bet more often, bet larger amounts and be at the track more. lower takeouts spells more money for the fan. which means more fun, more programs to buy, more food and beverage to digest. if you compete with the casino’s takeouts. you will win back some of those fans you lost years ago.

  • G. Powell

    The entire CA horse racing industry has been in decline for the past 5 years due to public perception of alleged corruption, and a small group of people running the tracks and winning all the races. During my short tenure there I was repeated told by potential owners, who wanted to invest in racing, that they didn’t trust racetrack owners racing their horses and winning races. They felt that they didn’t have a fair chance and why should they invest their money? There were potential owners with deep pockets that perceived the CHRB as corrup,t and not looking out for the MAJORITY of owners who invested or wanted to invest. There are horse owners sitting on boards making decisions for their own best interests it seems, and not for the greater good. I suppose it has all caught up to them now.

  • we’re watching

    Do something. Sue to keep Hollywood Park open. Get to the decision makers, do something.
    A lot of interesting comments below already. But if no action is taken to save HP, then who’s next?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-J-Arndt/506991452 Michael J. Arndt

    I suppose the idea of California racehorse owners and trainers using their own money to buy land and build a training center as a long term solution doesn’t merit discussion. But, to me, this is kind of like the air traffic controller furloughs – I wonder why the airlines aren’t responsible for paying for that whole system anyway.

    • http://www.facebook.com/marc.ferrell.9 Marc Ferrell

      Michael we do support the whole system already with the only exception of owning the race tracks which I would not be opposed to. Every single person who works on the backside, every vet, transportation company, insurance company, sales company, trainer and all the way to the guy selling beer is dependent upon one group…the owners…..without owners buying the horses and paying all the bills, this whole thing called racing does not exist.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chris.lowe.129357 Chris Lowe

        Mr.Ferrell It is a symbiotic relationship.Without the bettors the game turns into meaningless exhibitions between the owners.

  • http://www.facebook.com/marc.ferrell.9 Marc Ferrell

    This is such a frustrating situation. Here we are ready to say good bye to Hollywood and now all of a sudden something has to be done? We have had ample time to come up with solutions but everyone decided to wait until the last minute. California racing lacks one central leader who is the visionary to get us past this. When Pegram steps up people shoot him down as being selfish and acting in his own self interest. Perhaps we should look at an extremely successful business person like Mike or the other hundreds of owners who are some of the most successful business people in the country to come up with a solution. While I respect the intent of the CTT, they should be coming to the owners who pay for this sport with their pride in check asking them for support and direction but what they give is paranoid grief about what’s in it for them, we are all in the same damn boat! Well we all saw how quickly the Los Al deal fell apart as soon as the letter from the CTT was delivered to the TOC was that an accident?

    There are three issues, its very simple. Where and how will we replace Hollywood, how do we bring more owners to California, and how do we have the best product for the bettors and fans.

    I had an out of the box idea to bring more owners here and that was to re-distrubite the purse structure slightly so the minimum fees for each horse finishing out of the money is much higher allowing the roughly $4k per month per horse in training and vet fees to be offset. Of course you needs rules in place so it is not abused but that is a start. While DelMar has the right idea to encourage “shippers” what about me who lives and races in California and supports the system?

    There will not be motivation for change until its too late which is upon us. The fancy wording by the CHRB to have another ineffective committee “on creative ways to enhance the sport in California” should be much easier to understand like “how to save racing in California”. The time for change and action was when Governor Arnold was behind us, he attended the retirement ceremony for Zenyatta and pledged his support….and what did most people in attendance do? The boo’d him, after he took time out of his schedule to attend a horse retirement ceremony in Inglewood? I knew we were disconnected at that moment and in trouble.

    • http://twitter.com/racetrackandy Andy Asaro

      You’ve got to be kidding with Mike Pegram and the TOC. Here;s an piece by Art Wilson in 2011.

      Posted on August 15, 2011 by Art Wilson

      Consider this:

      * There was $390,684 in the pick five pool Sunday at
      Del Mar. This is a bet that carries a low 14 percent takeout. It’s also a bet
      that, according to one representative of the Thoroughbred Owners of California,
      would never catch on with the bettors. Well, it’s now one of the most popular
      bets on the Southland circuit.

      * After an encouraging first couple of weeks, Del
      Mar’s all-sources handle has been heading south the past two weeks. According
      to figures released by Equibase, total handle was down $2,203,711 Saturday and
      dipped $928,677 Friday night after a slow Wednesday and Thursday. Wednesday,
      after you figure in that last year Del Mar had a $1.2 million pick six pool on
      Day 16 of the meet, Del Mar was down about $1.1 million in handle. Down about
      $800,000 Thursday.

      Meanwhile, the TOC sits and tells us we need to wait
      a few years before the bigger purses lead to increased handle.

      Well, first of all, this sport might not have a few
      years left. Secondly, it seems the only people happy these days are the owners
      who are running their horses for these huge purses.

      Del Mar, Hollywood Park and Santa Anita have all
      asked the TOC to lower takeout on doubles and exactas. Track executives see the
      writing on the wall. Del Mar might be down in all-sources handle between now
      and Pacific Classic weekend Aug. 27-28.

      Meanwhile, the TOC does nothing.

      Sad.

      • http://www.facebook.com/marc.ferrell.9 Marc Ferrell

        I was not endorsing Pegram as I have never met him but respect his business success. My point that you obviously missed or did not care to understand is that this industry is full of very successfull business men who have developed multi million dollar businesses and therefore we as an industry have these people to lean on to help with ideas. Some of the wealthiest and most successful business men in the world are horse owners and can help if we just sit down and ask. Instead of criticizing, tell us what are your ideas?

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          Because no one will listen. And if anyone listens no one can agree on what to do and work together to do anything. Racing’s historical problem.

    • Jay

      Marc, the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL etc. cannot all be wrong. Racing,nationwide, was unable to recognize and accept that which they all had in common, and now the industry is as fragmented as ever and paying the consequences.

  • Shelby’s Best Pal

    What about San Luis Rey Downs for stabling horses? I thought I read something about that facility as a possibility.

    • RR

      San Luis Rey Downs is indeed a possibility. Magna have taken back control and have asked all the horses to leave by June 2nd so that they can do the necessary repairs to the barns.
      It will be inconvenient for everyone stabled there but in the long run SLRD will offer a first class training environment once again

    • craig

      Problem is all the beneficiares out of this imminent closing next year is Frank Stronach and Del Mar. Stronach spent millions of Magna dollars in Florida to build Palm Meadows training center. Now its his dime and hes doing nothing. Don;t give him the dates unless he spends what is needed to stable and train the more than 1000 horses that will be displaced. I would anticipate they will give 6 months notice to vacate come the end of this upcoming Hollywood park meet. Los al and Fairplex aren’t cutting it guys. Unless these guys wake up, at this time next year…..we will see 3 day race weeks with 5-6 horse fields. Too many people here with money to let this happen.

  • Greg

    Nice background on the Stockbridge group and the messes they leave behind…

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/123910223/Bay-Meadows-Land-Company-is-a-powerful-scheming-land-company

  • quit covering4them

    Racing is slowly committing suicide in Ca. and across the country. CHRB has a chance to show they are serious about cleaning up the drugging of racehorses and fines Robertino Diodoro $3000.00 and suspends 30 days and then STAYS 15 of the days! Gee, now that is getting serious. The only thing people better get serious about is finding a new place to race.

  • http://twitter.com/SpectacularBid David Johnson

    Thank you Churchill Downs for selling Hollywood Park to a developer in 2005. Your a company that really “loves our sport”. I can tell.

    • gues

      A publicly traded company has the primary responsibility of serving their shareholders, who have seen a rise from 20 to 70 in those 8 years-with seed money from selling HP.

      • Old Timer

        Gues, I think we are ALL very well aware of that.

        I think David’s point is that we see no real commitment to racing from this company in anything it does. Just pick a situation and typically it’s self serving (see KY Derby ticket fiasco last year). More to the point racing doesn’t seem to thrive in shareholders i.e. corporate owned environment.

        The best tracks, or on track experiences, seem to be owned by very wealth individuals who care more for the sport and fans then their own bottom line. All bets are off though when it comes to Frank :). A few of the non profits work ok also, such as Del Mar and maybe even Prairie Meadows, but NYRA has and continues to have issues.

    • http://www.facebook.com/david.rose.587 David Rose

      I AGREE DAVID!

  • James D. Jimenez

    First I’d like to thank the person that posted this website:
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.511898948831339.132840.502748679746366&type=3

    Neither I nor many of my friends in Southern California had any idea they were this far along in the building process. Before I showed trainers the link I asked them what came to mind when I said Bay Meadows and they all said vacant land. They were shocked when I showed them the photos!

    I also talked to a friend today that has done some work at the project and he said that everyone he has spoken to was very surprised at the great response they had at the first phase and that there were many cash buyers.

  • SaveHollywoodPark

    So the real solution here is to PREVENT Hollywood from closing….since the reality of racing surving is purely economic, and there will be significanlty less racing days and with no barn space to boot, significantly less horses. As goes Hollywood Park, so goes racing in CA. John Shireffs was right get out while he could before it collapses.Can’t you rich guys pool your money and buy the place to get it out of the hands of the developers? The proeprty is no where near as valuable as it was when they bought it. You could probably buy it at 60% of what they paid. If Hollywwod survives, I bet Shireffs will be back, and likely more will come to CA to run. Truely, the only solution is saving Hollywood Park. Someone call Shiek Mohammed and suggest buying it!

    • http://twitter.com/racetrackandy Andy Asaro

      We have quite a few people with big bucks who claim they care about Cal Racing. Mike Pegram is one of those guys. I don’t believe a word he says. If he was the real deal he would have acted differently as TOC chair the last two plus years.

    • http://www.facebook.com/marc.ferrell.9 Marc Ferrell

      Now finally a productive idea! Thank you.

  • Linda Taylor

    I’m a freelance writer and would love to hear more about what happened to Hollywood Park.

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