05/23/2010 11:00PM

Hollywood cancels Wednesday card


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Hollywood Park has cancelled racing on Wednesday because of a lack of entries, a decision partially influenced by the lack of racing on the same day at Golden Gate Fields, near San Francisco.

The decision to cancel Wednesday's scheduled eight-race program was made on Sunday, when entries for being taken for Wednesday and Thursday. Saturday, Golden Gate officials said they would not run on Wednesday because of insufficient entries.

Had Hollywood Park raced on Wednesday it would have the only live racing in California that day. Tracks in the northern and southern circuits in the state strive to run simultaneously to maximize simulcasting revenue. Hollywood Park president Jack Liebau said there was a fear that if Hollywood filled races for Wednesday that it would not be able to do so on Thursday.

"Even if we were able to run on Wednesday, we would do so without Golden Gate," he said. "If we didn't make enough [entries] on Thursday, Golden Gate would be naked."

Liebau said track officials feared that if an attempt was made to fill both days that each day would have approximately 55 entrants, or less than seven starters per race. "We'll come back on Thursday and have more than 70," he said.

Late Sunday afternoon, the track drew an eight-race program for Thursday that has 71 entrants, including four races with 10 starters.

Through Sunday, the track has averaged 7.78 runners per race at the current meeting, compared to 7.58 runners per race during the same period at the 2009 spring-summer meeting. For the entire 2009 spring-summer meeting, there was an average 7.94 runners per race.

Last summer, Hollywood Park cancelled the final nine Wednesdays of the meet as well as one Thursday program in April because of insufficient entries.

Liebau does not envision the same situation occurring this year since track officials have already built gaps into the race schedule. After Monday's Memorial Day program, there is no live racing until Friday, June 4. There will be only simulcast wagering on Thursday, June 3. Furthermore, there is no live racing on the final three Thursdays, July 1, 8, and 15, days in which simulcast wagering will be conducted. At the start of the meeting, there were two four-day weeks in late April and early May.

Liebau said trying to fill a six-day week this week would have been a test for the racing office, but that entries may not be as difficult in the final seven weeks of the meeting.

"I really thought that if we got over this hump, we might make it," Liebau said. "We run next Monday and won't come back until Friday."

Some races that had been filled for Wednesday will be reintroduced over the weekend, according to racing secretary Martin Panza.