It is hard for many horseplayers to fathom, but the curtain will come down on Hollywood Park on Sunday afternoon, the final day of racing at the track, which opened in 1938.
The final stake of the meeting is the $200,000 King Glorious, a seven-furlong test for state bred juveniles that drew a field of 11. The race is the 10th race on the card.
The final race will be a $25,000 starter allowance race on the turf at 1 1/16 mils that drew a full field of 12 and a couple of also-eligibles.
While the casino still stays, the racetrack will be turned into housing, parkland and an entertainment complex. Del Mar and Santa Anita Park will pick up the slack on the racing dates.
The last Grade 1 race was run last week, with Shared Belief winning the $750,000 CashCall Futurity, making the colt one of the early favorites for next spring’s Kentucky Derby.
The final jockey title is coming down to Rafael Bejarano and Joe Talamo, who were separated by just one win through Friday’s card.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert leads all trainers through Friday with 16 winners. John Sadler and Doug O’Neill are tied for second with 13 winners each.
The track is rich in history, with Seabiscuit winning the first running of the Hollywood Gold Cup in 1938 and Citation becoming the first horse to earn $1 million in 1951.
The track was an innovator in wagering, the first track to offer the exacta and Pick 6, and was the first track to average more than $4 million in daily handle in 1977 and the first track to average more than $5 million in mutuel handle in 1980.
The track also held in the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup in 1984.
The Hollywood Gold Cup (G1), the signature race of the track has been won by many of the all-time greats. In addition to Seabiscuit, winners included Citation, Swaps, Round Table, Native Diver, Affirmed, Lava Man and Game On Dude.
One of my fondest memories is from 2005, when track announcer Vic Stauffer called the race during an earthquake:
It will be interesting to hear what Vic has in store for us in the finale this afternoon. Let’s head out to Hollywood Park for the final stakes race in the history of the track:
Betfair Hollywood Park Race 10 The King Glorious (Post time 5:05 PT)
8 California Chrome 3-1
9 Aotearoa 5-2
11 Life Is a Joy 8-1
2 Play Hard 4-1
Analysis: California Chrome cuts back to seven furlongs and returns to the fake stuff her. The colt won the state bred Graduation over poly at Del Mar three back and broke his maiden over the Cushion Track here. The colt has worked smartly since his last outing and figures to bounce back with the surface switch and the cut back in distance.
Aotearoa stalked the early pace and finished up well for the runner up spot last out in the Generous (G3) on turf. This gelding has a stakes win versus open company, taking the Zuma Beach three back on turf and he broke his maiden at Del Mar over poly. He is reunited with Nakatani who was aboard for his stakes win. The gelding has plenty of experience in the mornings over the Cushion Track.
WIN: #8 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 8,9 / 2,8,9,11
TRI: 8,9 / 2,8,9,11 / 2,4,8,9,11