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Hollywood Park Nearing its Last Lap
After years of economic downturn, Hollywood Park may
see its last horse race, leaving track goers with nothing more to bid
than a final farewell. Bay Meadows Land Co. purchased the racetrack from
Churchill Downs Inc. with hopes of reviving the track to a level of
economic efficiency. However, Bay Meadows has announced that if efforts
to regenerate revenues fail, the track will close permanently.
Hollywood Park, which sits on 238 acres in the city of Inglewood, first
opened in 1938 during the early, glamorous days of the Hollywood
entertainment industry. Jack L. Warner of Warner Brothers was chairman
of the park, while Walt Disney, Ralph Bellamy and Samuel Goldwyn were
all stakeholders. The allure of horseracing also attracted celebrities
such as Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Telly Savalas, who
would sneak away from the studios to make wagers.
Dubbed the "city of champions," Inglewood was also once home to the
Lakers and Kings and famous for its professional sporting events. With
the loss of those teams years ago, the racetrack was left to back the
city’s title. Yet, competition from Indian casinos, online betting and
declining interests in horse racing have contributed to the track’s
decline in recent years.
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