Betfair Hollywood Park will begin its 33rd and final Autumn Meet Thursday, Nov. 7.
Scheduled for 27 days through Sunday, Dec. 22, the meet is highlighted by four Grade I events and the annual Autumn Turf Festival (Nov. 29-Dec. 1).
Two of the Grade I events are on grass – the $250,000 Matriarch and $250,000 Hollywood Derby. Both are part of the Festival and will be run Sunday, Dec. 1.
Two-year-olds are spotlighted in the other Grade I’s – the $500,000 guaranteed Hollywood Starlet and the $750,000-guaranteed CashCall Futurity.
Won a year ago in last-to-first fashion by Pure Fun, the Starlet is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7.
Sponsored by the consumer loans company founded by renowned owner-breeder, J. Paul Reddam, the CashCall Futurity, which was taken by Violence in 2012, will be run Saturday, Dec. 14.
Racing will be conducted four days a week (Thursday-Sunday) throughout the season with three exceptions. In commemoration of Veterans Day, special holiday racing will be offered Monday, Nov. 11 and there will be no racing Thursday, Nov. 14 and Thursday, Dec. 19.
Post time will be 12:30 p.m. daily except for an 11 a.m. start Thursday, Nov. 28 (Thanksgiving). Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. – 9:30 a.m., Nov. 28 – for simulcasts.
The first stakes on the Autumn schedule is the $100,000 Moccasin, which will be run for the 26th time Saturday, Nov. 9.
An ungraded event for 2-year-old fillies at seven furlongs over Cushion Track, the Moccasin, which returns to the stakes calendar after a one-year absence, is a prep for the Hollywood Starlet.
Entries for the Moccasin will be taken Wednesday, Nov. 6.
Free box seats will be offered every Thursday and Friday. Thursdays will also offer $5 admission – with Gold Club card – for seniors (55 and older). Parking and program are included.
Happy Hour drink specials and Mexican food items will be available 2-4 p.m. on Fiesta Fridays and Gold Club members can enter to win a $100 mutuel voucher.
The wagering menu will continue to offer the Player’s Pick 5, now a staple on the Southern California circuit after being introduced at the 2011 Spring/Summer meet. The 50-cent minimum wager with a reduced 14% takeout will be offered daily on Races 1-5.
There will be a $150,000 guaranteed Pick Six each Saturday of the meet. Should the pool surpass $200,000, $1 Happy Hour food and drink specials will be available at Whittingham’s Pub and the Betfair Players’ Lounge.
Additionally, a single winning ticket –purchased either at Betfair Hollywood Park or through Television Games Network (TVG) – will earn a bonus – a new Prius- courtesy of Toyota of Orange.
History of Hollywood Park
Opening Day — June 10, 1938
The Hollywood Turf Club was formed under the chairmanship of Jack L. Warner (of the Warner Brothers film corporation). The 600 original shareholders included many stars, directors and producers of the film world, such as Al Jolson and Raoul Walsh (two of the original directors of the board); Joan Blondell; Ronald Colman; Walt Disney; Bing Crosby; Sam Goldwyn; Darryl Zanuck; George Jessel; Ralph Bellamy; Hal Wallis; Anatole Litvak; Hunt Stromberg; Wallace Beery; Irene Dunne, and the late Mervyn LeRoy (director of Hollywood Park from 1941 until his death in 1986).
Legendary Seabiscuit Takes Inaugural Gold Cup
The legendary Seabiscuit was victorious in 1938’s inaugural running of the Hollywood Gold Cup, the track’s signature race, which would be won 11 times by Thoroughbreds, distinguished as Horse of the Year: 1938, Seabiscuit; 1940, Challedon; 1951, Citation; 1956, Swaps; 1957, Round Table; 1971, Ack Ack; 1979, Affirmed; 1987, Ferdinand; 1990, Criminal Type; 1995, Cigar; 1998, Skip Away.
Citation became racing’s first million-dollar earner by winning the 1951 Hollywood Gold Cup under Steve Brooks while making his final start.
Hollywood Park pioneered the exacta in 1971.
Glen Hill Farm’s Convenience, trained by Willard Proctor and ridden by Jerry Lambert, defeated Westerly Stud’s favored Typecast (Bill Shoemaker up) in 1972 match race, which drew 53,575 to Hollywood Park. Convenience won the $250,000 winner-take-all-purse by a head, covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:47 3/5.
Sunday racing was introduced to Californians at Hollywood Park on April 15, 1973. (The legislation was introduced under Gov. Ronald Reagan’s administration.)
Hollywood Park became the first track to average more than $4 million in daily handle in 1977.
Amtote’s TM 300 wagering system revolutionized wagering habits in 1979 with multiple bet tickets, betting and cashing at the same window. Early Bird Wagering was also introduced.
Two-Million Dollar Horse
Harbor View Farm’s Affirmed became racing’s first $2-million winner with a victory in 1979 Hollywood Gold Cup under jockey Laffit Pincay Jr.
Hollywood Park, a trendsetter in giveaway premiums, attracted a record crowd of 80,348 with a tote bag giveaway on May 4, 1980.
The Pick Six, an exciting and successful innovation in California and a forerunner to the Perfect Six, was introduced at Hollywood Park by Vernon O. Underwood on June 7, 1980.
Miss Musket – Chris Evert
Carl Rosen’s eastern star Chris Evert, ridden by Jorge Velasquez, defeated Aaron U. Jones’ western standout Miss Musket, with Laffit Pincay Jr. up, by 50 lengths in 1974 match race. Each owner put up $100,000 and track added $150,000 for record purse of $350,000. Chris Evert, the second choice, ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.
The 1 1/8-mile main track, incorporating a 1,321-foot stretch, was opened on Nov. 7, 1984. The extended chute permits one-mile races around one turn.
Inaugural Breeders’ Cup
Before a crowd of 64,625 and an estimated 50 million viewers, Hollywood Park was host to the inaugural Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 7, 1984, handling a then-record $11,466,941.
Friday Night Racing
The success of six Friday night cards at the 1991 Spring/Summer Meet led to 12 Fridays in the summer of 1993, and a full slate of Fridays through the 1998 Spring/Summer Meet.
Churchill Downs Acquires Hollywood Park
Churchill Downs Incorporated closed a $140-million transaction to acquire Hollywood Park on Sept. 10, 1999. The deal included the Hollywood Park-Casino, which was leased back to Hollywood Park Inc. (now Pinnacle Entertainment Inc.) for 10 years at an annual rate of $3 million, with one 10-year renewal option.
Pincay Surpasses Shoe, Wins Autumn Title
Laffit Pincay Jr. reached racing’s summit at Hollywood Park on Dec. 10, 1999, riding Irish Nip to victory in the sixth race. It was career win No. 8,834, one more than Bill Shoemaker, who retired with 8,883 wins in 1990. Pincay tied Shoemaker’s mark on Dec. 9, rallying I Be Casual to victory in the fourth race. In addition to becoming the world’s winningest rider, Pincay rode 32 winners at the 1999 Autumn Meet to earn his first riding title since the 1991 Spring/Summer Meet. He finished four wins ahead of Patrick Valenzuela while claiming his 38th riding championship.
Pick Four Initiated
Became the first California track to offer the $1 Pick Four at 2000 Autumn Meet, a single wager encompassing the day’s final four races.
Hollywood Park sold to Bay Meadows Land Company
The sale of Hollywood Park by Churchill Downs Inc. for $260 million to Bay Meadows Land Company was announced on July 6, 2005, sandwiched between dominating performances by Japanese filly Cesario in the American Oaks and by California-bred Lava Man in the 66th running of the Hollywood Gold Cup. Cesario, the first Japanese-bred to win a Grade I race in North America, cruised to a four-length victory in stakes record time under jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, while Lava Man won the Gold Cup by a record 8 3/4 lengths with Patrick Valenzuela up. The sale of Hollywood Park was completed Sept. 23 with F. Jack Liebau being named president of the Hollywood Park Racing Association.