08/09/2007 11:00PM

California delays dates talks


The uncertainty of racing at Hollywood Park beyond 2008 and the issue of whether Bay Meadows will be available for racing or training after July 2008 prevented the California Horse Racing Board's strategic planning committee from moving forward on the subject of racing dates at a meeting at Del Mar on Friday.

The racing board's chairman, Richard Shapiro, intended to discuss a three-year calendar for the state's Thoroughbred circuits on Friday, but postponed the discussion until the strategic planning committee meeting reconvenes on Aug. 22. He and commissioner John Amerman have requested written responses from the state's racetracks on their intentions to race over the next three years.

Rod Blonien, a lobbyist representing Bay Meadows Land Co., which owns Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park, said that Hollywood Park "was not prepared to make a commitment to race an additional three years." He said Hollywood Park would close in the absence of slot machines at racetracks, which is considered a longshot.

Blonien said that Bay Meadows was committed to racing "through the San Mateo Fair" next summer. Northern California racing officials said that if Bay Meadows closed as a training center late next year that it would pose major difficulties for stabling on that circuit.