Marje Everett, the longtime chairwoman of Hollywood Park, died March 23 at her West Los Angeles home. She was 90.
A native of New York, Everett grew up in a racing family. Her father, Benjamin Lindheimer, owned Arlington Park and the now defunct Washington Park in Illinois, and she spent a great portion of her adult life in racetrack management. She took over as chairwoman at both Arlington and Washington Park following her father’s death in 1960.
Everett relocated to California after leaving Illinois and selling her interest in both tracks. She acquired stock in Hollywood Park and eventually became part of its management.
Everett was on the board of directors from 1972-1991 and served as chair, chief executive officer, and president of the track from 1985-1991. She resigned after losing a proxy fight to R.D. Hubbard.
During her tenure, Hollywood Park, now operated as Betfair Hollywood Park | BloodHorse.com Track Profile">Betfair Hollywood Park, twice hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships--including the inaugural event in 1984--and began what is now the Pick 6 in 1983. On May 4, 1980, the track had what remains its largest on-track crowd (80,348) thanks primarily to a tote bag giveaway.
More than 68,000 were in attendance when Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew suffered his first defeat to J.O. Tobin in the Swaps Stakes July 3, 1977.
“She was certainly an important part of racing in California for a long period of time," said Hollywood Park general manager Eual Wyatt Jr., who worked as racing secretary for more than 15 years under Everett. “She was very sincere about her love for racing. She tried to do everything in the best interest of both patrons and horsemen. She tried to look out for everyone."
Retired Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., who remained close friends with Everett, said he last spoke to her about two weeks ago.
“She was one of my closest friends," he said. “She was always very good to me and was very close to my first wife (Linda) and my children. The thing I admired about her was her love of racing. She always wanted the best for racing. The last time I saw her was about two months ago, and we had a really good conversation."
In addition to her career in management, Everett also was a horse owner. The best of her Thoroughbreds was multiple stakes winner Stardust Mel, who was trained by Charlie Whittingham and ridden by Bill Shoemaker, another of her very close friends.