03/31/2006 12:00AM

California to hold extra dates talks


The California Horse Racing Board will conduct a meeting at Hollywood Park on April 26 to discuss racing dates for 2007 and later, according to the board's chairman, Richard Shapiro.

The meeting will be in addition to the board's monthly meeting on April 27.

There will be much to discuss at the meeting. The Bay Meadows Operating Co. purchased Hollywood Park last summer, and Bay Meadows officials said Hollywood Park was likely to close within three years if alternative sources of gaming were not developed for California racetracks.

The Bay Meadows flagship track in San Mateo, Calif., is also subject to development in coming years.

Meanwhile, Los Alamitos wants to expand its Quarter Horse operation to accommodate Thoroughbred racing. Fairplex Park wants to expand its five-eighths-mile track to build a larger dirt course and a turf course.

Magna Entertainment, which owns Golden Gate Fields and Santa Anita, has proposed a new racetrack for Dixon, Calif., in the north.

Shapiro said the uncertainty surrounding the sport's future in the state necessitates extensive discussion.

"What do we do if we lose tracks? We can't let things like this come down to the last minute," he said. "We have two tracks that are in jeopardy of closing.

"What are we going to do in California? What are our alternatives? We can't sit still and have someone say we're closing."