With less than two weeks remaining in the Thoroughbred racing season, nearly all of the 2008 leaders have been decided. The lone category without a clear-cut winner is earnings by owner, and it might take until the final few days of the year to determine a victor.
Multiple graded-stakes winner Vacare will try to add to her impressive resume Dec. 21 when she tops a full field of 12 fillies and mares in the Dahlia Handicap (gr. IIT) on closing day at Hollywood Park.
Martin Smith, assistant and exercise rider for English trainer John Best, hopes the stable enjoys as much success in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity (gr. I) Dec. 20 at Hollywood Park with Axel Foley as it did with Square Eddie in the Breeders Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland in October.
Chilean-bred Cocoa Beach, runner-up to Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) last out, makes her return to the track to face a loaded field of nine fillies and mares in the $500,000 Matriarch (gr. IT) Nov. 30 on the Hollywood Park turf.
The Hollywood Turf Festival offers something for everyone over the long holiday weekend, and sprinters get their chance Nov. 29 in the $150,000 Turf Express Handicap (gr. IIIT) at six furlongs.
Shadwell homebred Shakis, who won the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) for the second consecutive year this summer at Saratoga, was euthanized at Hollywood Park the morning of Nov. 21 after breaking his hind leg during a workout. The 8-year-old Irish-bred son of Machiavellian was making his final work prior to running in the Citation Handicap (gr. IT) Nov. 29, which was expected to be his final start before beginning his stud career in 2009.
Golden Gate Fields will host a total of 181 days in 2009, including 29 during the summer on behalf of the California Authority of Racing Fairs, under a dates allocation plan approved by the California Horse Racing Board Nov. 18.
Unbeaten Zenyatta is getting a bit of a break at trainer John Shirreffs' barn before a 2009 campaign, but she may parade at Hollywood Park Nov. 30 as part of a special day in her honor.
About 1,000 Thoroughbreds could be forced to leave the grounds of Beulah Park by the end of this year if the racetrack and horsemen's association don't have a deal for advance deposit wagering revenue in place by Nov. 21, the day the Ohio State Racing Commission will award racing dates for 2009.
Out-of-state account wagering bettors remained locked out of Hollywood Park races as a contract dispute between the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the four advance deposit wagering companies showed no sign of resolution Oct. 30, the second day of the fall meet.
A stalemate between California horsemen and advance deposit wagering companies kept Hollywood Park's out-of-state signal unavailable on opening day of the track's fall season Oct. 29.
Industry stakeholders received a tongue-lashing from Richard Shapiro, chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, as the agency took its first swipe at a race dates calendar for 2009.
California horsemen and Hollywood Park reached a tentative agreement Oct. 10 that allows the track to operate its 40-day autumn race meet, but a stalemate over host fees to be paid by account wagering companies for interstate bets remains unresolved.
With horsemen and Hollywood Park unable to come to agreement on revenue splits from account wagering sources for the upcoming autumn meet at the Inglewood track, the California Horse Racing Board agreed to conduct a special hearing to settle the impasse.
Mike Ziegler, most recently vice president and assistant general manager at Hollywood Park, has been named senior vice president of California-based Youbet.com, the company announced Sept. 16.
Del Mar's traditional seven-week summer meet could undergo some changes in the next few years, as Hollywood Park heads for development and the entire Southern California racing calendar adjusts.
Luke Kruytbosch, the track announcer at Churchill Downs and Ellis Park, was found dead July 14 in his Evansville, Ind. apartment, according to published reports. He was 46.
Hollywood Park realized a 1.8% drop in all-sources handle during the 70th running of its spring/summer meet, which ended July 13.
Hoping to revitalize its Cushion Track racing surface following the 60-day spring/summer meet that concludes July 13, Hollywood Park plans to close its main track to training in the next few weeks for a short maintenance break.
A preliminary total handle of $24,473,930 from the American Oaks/CashCall Mile program July 5 is the highest in Hollywood Park's history other than Breeders' Cup and Triple Crown days, the Southern California track reported.
Azul Leon became the first graded winner and the second added-money winner overall for North America's leading first crop sire, Lion Heart, with a four-length triumph in the $106,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III) July 5.
The July 5 Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes (gr. III) at Hollywood Park is shaping up as a wide-open race, as 10 California-based 2-year-olds are all traveling six furlongs for the first time and looking for the first major victory of their careers.
Carribean Sunset, a multiple group III winner in Ireland, leads a four-horse European contingent in a field of 12 3-year-old fillies contesting the $750,000 American Oaks Invitational Stakes (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park July 5.
Hollywood Park plans to race for at least one more year, the California Horse Racing Board was told June 27, while the racing industry in Southern California has "coalesced" around Fairplex Park as the region's eventual replacement for the Inglewood track.
Heatseeker, the 7-5 morning line favorite for the $750,000 Hollywood Gold Cup, will be scratched from Saturday's race due to a filling in his left front ankle, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said June 27.
With the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) to be run Saturday, the question is, can anyone beat Heatseeker, who has emerged as the top older horse in the West and a major threat in this year's Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) run over a synthetic track, which he apparently loves?
Grade II victor Teton Forest found his first winner when his son Smokey Lonesome won June 19 at Hollywood Park in his second start. The 2-year-old gelding rallied to capture the $48,000 maiden event in near track record time over the Cushion Track surface.
Longtime California steward Pete Pedersen has been named the winner of the 2008 Laffit Pincay Jr. Award. He will be honored June 28 when the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) is run for the 69th time.
Artiste Royal, who had only one win in 13 lifetime starts on U.S. soil, broke through with a gutsy effort in the $300,000 Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) June 7 at Hollywood Park, holding off a trio of horses in the final yards to score by a neck under David Flores.
Bold Chieftain, a leading handicap horse in Northern California, seeks his first graded stakes victory in the $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) June 7 at Hollywood Park, but will face a full field of older horses, including Commonwealth Stakes (gr. II) winner Rebellion.
The operator of Santa Anita Park has filed a federal lawsuit against the original supplier of its troubled synthetic racing surface, claiming it has suffered at least $8.4 million in damages from improper installation and repair.
Millionaire and multiple stakes winner Nashoba's Key suffered a freak stall accident at Hollywood Park and had to be euthanized May 28.
Everest Stables' homebred Million Dollar Run, a maiden making only her second career start, pressed the pace, took over at the top of the stretch, and drew clear to win the $100,000 Railbird Stakes (gr. III) by two lengths May 11.
Indizguys Stable's On the Acorn hadn't won a race since last year's running of the $250,000 Jim Murrary Memorial Handicap, but he defended that score with dignity and took the May 10 event at Hollywood Park for the second time in a row.
The last time Bel Air Sizzle was entered in a race, it was through error. Less than 72 hours after the 3-year-old filly scored a solid 2 3/4-length allowance win at Hollywood Park, she was placed in the April 27 Melair Stakes, where trainer Barry Abrams intended to enter another starter, Lethal Heat, instead.
Eight older sprinters will try to knock off Everest Stables' homebred Sailors Sunset, who looks for the repeat in the $100,000 Los Angeles Handicap (gr. III) May 10 at Hollywood Park.
With the hour glass emptying on Bay Meadows and perhaps Hollywood Park as well, the California Horse Racing Board heard from industry representatives working on contingency plans for the future of Thoroughbred racing in the state without two of its major tracks.
Hollywood Park may be celebrating its 70th anniversary season, but the question remains, will the Southern California track be around in 2009 for its 71st? "I just don't know -- nobody knows," said F. Jack Liebau, Hollywood Park president, on opening day, April 23.
Crossing the Line, sidelined after winning the Del Mar Mile Handicap (gr. IIT), is gearing up for a return at the races at the upcoming Hollywood Park spring/summer meet, which gets under way April 23.
Magnificience, who burst into prominence last year with a two-for-two record by a combined 11 1/2 lengths, worked five furlongs in :58.60 on the main track at Santa Anita for Bruce Headley March 24.
Graded stakes winners Zenyatta and Tiago both "are doing very well" and probably will run in stakes at the upcoming Hollywood Park spring/summer meet, which gets under way April 23, trainer John Shirreffs said.
Hollywood Park will offer a non-Breeders' Cup record $2.2 million graded stakes program on July 5, the major highlight of the Inglewood track's 60-day spring/summer meet.
Now that voters in California have decisively approved a massive increase in Indian gaming for four large Southern California tribes, the chairman of the state's horse racing board says it is time for the tribal casinos to help out his ailing industry with financial mitigation.
- By Claire Novak
Danzel Brendemuehl's passion for Thoroughbred racing was ignited -- almost literally -- when she was just 16 years old. Now, after gaining valuable experience in the trenches of the industry, she's selecting top performers such as Monterey Jazz, Roses In May, Fleetstreet Dancer, and Fridays a Comin.
Lava Man is back at the Doug O'Neill barn at Hollywood Park to prepare for a 2008 campaign.
The racing industry in California is split on referendums that would allow Indian tribes to add thousands of slot machines to their casinos.
Santa Anita cancelled its Jan. 25 card because rain again made the Cushion Track too wet to use. However, officials remain hopeful that the track can conduct its Jan. 26 Sunshine Millions card as scheduled.
- By Jack Shinar
The California Horse Racing Board, meeting in a brief emergency session by teleconference Jan. 8 following Santa Anita's canceled weekend Jan. 5-7, cleared the way for the Los Angeles Turf Club to move some or all of the 2008 winter/spring racing dates to Hollywood Park.
Santa Anita Park canceled live racing for Jan. 7 because of continued problems with its Cushion Track surface.
The California Horse Racing Board will meet in special session by teleconference Jan. 8 to consider allowing the Los Angeles Turf Club to move some or all of its racing dates to Hollywood Park if the drainage problem that forced cancellation of races at Santa Anita Park on Jan. 5 is not quickly resolved.
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