08/20/2003 11:00PM

California approves 2004 dates


The California Horse Racing Board approved racing dates for 2004 at its monthly meeting in Del Mar on Thursday.

The only debate on the subject was whether to allow Hollywood Park to end its fall meeting on the Monday before Christmas, a proposal that received the unanimous support of the board.

Overall, there were few changes to the schedule for the Southern and northern California Thoroughbred circuits, the northern fair circuit, and the night racing meetings for Quarter Horses and Standardbreds.

Hollywood Park will host a 36-day fall meeting from Nov. 3 to Dec. 20 in 2004. Officials with the Thoroughbred Owners of California and the California Thoroughbred Trainers argued that the meeting should finish on Sunday, Dec. 19 to allow a six-day break before the traditional start of the Santa Anita winter meeting on the day after Christmas.

But Hollywood Park officials and members of the CHRB supported the Monday program.

John Harris, a CHRB commissioner, said the difference between a five-day break and a six-day break would have little affect on field sizes.

Hollywood Park officials said they intend to promote the program in an effort to attract people who are beginning their vacations before Christmas.