06/21/2013 3:14PM

Hollywood Park: California stabling plans still up in air


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - With slightly more than six months before the closure of Betfair Hollywood Park for demolition, Southern California racing executives have yet to finalize plans for alternative off-track stabling for 2014, the California Horse Racing Board was told on Thursday.

The closure of Hollywood Park will displace more than 1,000 horses whose trainers are based there on a year-round basis.

Thursday, the racing board heard from officials with the Thoroughbred Owners of California and from Santa Anita about plans to base 500 horses at San Luis Rey Downs training center in northern San Diego County and stable 500 horses at Los Alamitos in Orange County.

TOC president Joe Morris told the racing board that development of a long-term training venue to replace Hollywood Park remains an immediate goal.

Santa Anita’s parent company, The Stronach Group, owns San Luis Rey Downs, which is undergoing a refurbishment to its stables and dirt track this summer, according to Santa Anita president George Haines. At Thursday’s meeting, Haines said that repairs have started at San Luis Rey Downs. He said an infield turf training course is being surveyed and could be in place by the start of 2014.

Los Alamitos operates a year-round meeting for Quarter Horses and lower-level Thoroughbreds, but its barn area is not at capacity and could house more stables.

The San Luis Rey Downs-Los Alamitos idea has not been well received by the California Thoroughbred Trainers. CTT executives have said their members would strongly prefer that Barretts Racing at Fairplex Park be used as the primary replacement for Hollywood Park.

Morris told the racing board that Fairplex Park could be used for off-track stabling when capacity is reached at Santa Anita, San Luis Rey Downs and Los Alamitos.

The TOC has argued against Fairplex Park as a primary location, saying that funding, provided through a portion of mutuel handle from off-track betting locations, is not sufficient. CTT officials have contested that point.

The racing board urged that a resolution be reached before its next meeting at Del Mar on July 18.