Hollywood Race Park was built in the 1930s, hot on the heels of the opening of Del Mar by Bing Crosby and company. The Hollywood Turf Club was formed with Jack Warner of the Warner Brothers as chairman, and the 600-plus shareholders included film industry greats like Al Jolson, Walt Disney, and Bing Crosby himself. From Hollywood Park’s opening day on June 10, 1938, to the present day, membership in Hollywood Turf Club was a mark of luxury, reserved for California’s racing elite.
Hollywood Park is centrally located for Southern California, three miles east of Los Angeles International Airport. The track is accessible from the 105, 405, and 110 Freeways, 11 miles from downtown L.A. and a short drive from Beverly Hills.
Hollywood boasts expansive track space, including a one and one-eight miles cushion track, a one-mile infield turf course, and a half-mile training track east of the stables. The main track features two beautiful lakes with nearly a mile of shoreline between them, dredged in 1991 as the park rejuvenated its traditional “Lakes and Flowers” branding and image.
The Hollywood Gold Cup, the track’s yearly signature race, was won in its inaugural 1938 running by the legendary Seabiscuit. Including Seabiscuit’s win, the Hollywood Gold Cup has been won 11 times by Thoroughbreds later named Horse of the Year, including such greats as Citation (1951), Affirmed (1979), and Skip Away (1998). Citation became the first million-dollar earner in horse racing upon winning the 1951 Gold Cup.
The track was shut down during World War II, and again in 1949 after the clubhouse and grandstand were engulfed in flames stretching a quarter mile across the park, two weeks before the summer meet. Hollywood Park’s 1949 summer meeting was conducted at Santa Anita, and the track re-opened after major repairs in 1950.
Hollywood Park has been a major player in California betting innovation. The exacta bet was pioneered at the track in 1971, and the first Sunday races were run at Hollywood after the law was changed under Ronald Reagan’s governorship in 1973. The track was so successful that a major $3 million renovation was undertaken in 1972. In 1979, Amtote’s TM 300 automated wagering system revolutionized betting systems in California and across the U.S.
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