INGLEWOOD (CBSLA.com/AP) — Hollywood Park will close its gates Sunday after 75 years of thoroughbred racing.
The 237-acre park has played host to Hollywood royalty, such as Elizabeth Taylor and Jimmy Stewart, and famous horses like Seabiscuit and Seattle Slew since it was opened by Warner Bros. in 1938.
Champion mare and 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta was based at Hollywood Park, and so was I’ll Have Another, the 2012 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.
Park leaders decided the land was too valuable for its current use so it will be turned into a housing and retail center in 2014.
It’s the second major California racetrack to close since 2008, when Bay Meadows, near San Francisco, was shuttered after 74 years to make way for a similar development.
“The audience has shifted,” Bob Mieszerski, director of publicity, said. “There are still a lot of people who gamble on racing, but they do it from home, they do it from a computer, they go to ADW’s, they don’t come to the live track as much anymore. There’s just sports that have overtaken racing in popularity unfortunately.”
The Breeders’ Cup began at the track in 1984, and was held there again in 1987 and 1997.
Some of the sport’s fixtures began at Hollywood Park and spread throughout the industry, including Sunday racing, which debuted in 1973, and fan giveaways.
Racing Sunday will begin at 12:30 p.m.
The park will give away commemorative pins and prizes in addition to several special events planned to remember the facility.
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