Mike Mooney, the publicity director at Hollywood Park since 1993, retired April 16.
Mooney joined the Hollywood publicity department as a notes writer in 1991 and became director of publicity two years later.
Veteran racing writer Bob Mieszerski has been named to succeed Mooney. A graduate of Cal State Los Angeles, Mieszerski, 53, began his sports writing career with the Los Angeles Herald Examiner in 1978 and began covering horse racing as both a writer and handicapper on a full time basis in 1985. He continued in that capacity after joining the Los Angeles Times and remained there until 2008.
Mooney, 55, first worked in publicity in 1970 at Fort Erie for Bruce Walker. He came to Hollywood Park from Chicago to work for Jack Disney.
Mooney headed the joint publicity team at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita Park for four years in the 1990s before shifting back to Hollywood Park on a permanent basis prior to the 1997 Breeders' Cup.
Mooney worked closely with Laffit Pincay Jr. and Bill Shoemaker as Pincay marched toward Shoemaker’s record of 8,833 victories. Pincay surpassed the mark Dec. 10, 1999.
He worked with then Los Angeles Times sports editor Bill Dwyre and deputy sports editor Dave Morgan to start the Jim Murray Sports Journalism Workshop in 2003, attracting top students from across the country each year during a three-year run.
“Working at Hollywood Park has been the highlight of my career,” Mooney said. “I've had great support and a tremendous relationship with members of the media, particularly on the print side. It's a big moment for me. My wife, Pam, and I are retiring on the same day, and we're excited about the future.”
From a racing family, Mooney began working on the Ontario Jockey Club circuit while in school in 1968. He went from the OJC publicity department to newspapers, working at the Winnipeg Free Press, The Albertan in Calgary, and the Vancouver Sun, where he was Turf writer and handicapper for seven years.
His grandfather, J.D. Mooney, rode 1924 Kentucky Derby winner Black Gold and trained 1962 Canadian Horse of the Year Crafty Lace. His father, John J. Mooney, was president of the Ontario Jockey Club tracks and later Laurel Race Course and Arlington Park. His brother, John E. Mooney, has worked in management at several tracks in the United States and Canada and is currently director of racing at Delaware Park. His brother Dan is owner/operator of Huntington Stud Farm in Ontario.