Ending much speculation about its immediate future, Betfair Hollywood Park will operate its annual fall meet in 2013, track president Jack Liebau said in an appearance before the California Horse Racing Board Jan. 17.
"We confirm that we will run our fall dates," Liebau told commissioners meeting at Santa Anita Park.
The track had been given a January deadline to let the board know whether it would continue to operate or close its doors in preparation for a massive commercial and residential redevelopment of the 238-acre site in Inglewood. Liebau had declined to say what direction property owner Bay Meadows Land Co. was leaning prior to the meeting.
After his brief appearance, Liebau said that the company's executive managing director, Terry Fancher, was swayed to the decision by his relationship with Dr. Ed Allred, owner of Quarter Horse track Los Alamitos Race Course. Allred sought more time on behalf of the industry to prepare an alternative site in the event Hollywood closes down.
"It was probably the deciding factor. I don't know what will happen in 2014," Liebau said. "I will say it was a close call (for the fall meet)."
The seven-week Hollywood fall meet runs Nov. 6- Dec. 22.
At this point, neither Los Alamitos, in Orange County, nor Fairplex Park, in eastern Los Angeles County, have stepped forward with an expansion plan as an alternative to Hollywood.
Lou Raffetto Jr., president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, told the CHRB talks leading to a viable racing and training site are continuing.
Hollywood Park had earlier assured the CHRB that it would run its spring/summer meet in 2013. But during the dates allocation meeting in August, Liebau said the track was unprepared to commit to fall racing dates.
In other action, the board unanimously approved a new mini-satellite wagering facility at a bar/restaurant in downtown San Diego in spite of the objections of a representative for the San Diego Padres. The approval was for a five-year license.
Caroline Perry, associate general counsel of the Major League Baseball team, said the Tilted Kilt Pub and Restaurant "is literally on the doorstep" of Petco Park, the Padres' stadium. She contended that that the proposed wagering facility falls under the definition of a "casino" and violates the declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions of the East Village Square Owners. She promised the Padres would take legal action to enforce the restrictions.
"The issue of gambling in and around baeball is of greatest concern," Perry said. "While we understand that this intended for wagering on horse racing, we believe that it will attract bookies that do accept wagers on baseball."
Commissioners responded that the proposed mini-satellite is legal under California law and that the Tilted Kilt had complied with city requirements in acquiring the necessary permits. It has a waiver from Del Mar and its satellite wagering facility, Surfside, to operate within a 20-mile radius of the track, CHRB staff reported.
The pub and restaurant, located at 310 Tenth Ave., could be ready to operate as a mini-satellite in as little as two weeks, said Rick Baedeker, representing Southern California Off Track Wagering Inc. He said a formal grand opening of the betting parlor would be held after this year's Super Bowl. The facility is expected to have up to 10 self-service or clerk-operated wagering terminals, 26 LCD television sets, and capacity for 228 patrons.