07/14/2010 5:15PM

Hollywood Park cancels Thursday card


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Hollywood Park president Jack Liebau said the cancellation of Thursday’s live program because of insufficient entries will not lead to changes in the racing schedule for the final two weeks of the spring-summer meeting, which ends July 18.

Liebau said the track will go forward with an abbreviated three-day racing schedule this week, from Friday through Sunday, and will offer the scheduled four days of racing next week, from July 15-18.

Regarding cutting back on the number of races run on a weekday, Liebau said a reduction to six races per day “doesn’t make sense” and that the track was unable to attract enough horses to run seven races on Thursday and still have a Friday program.

“Under the law, we have to run seven to import [simulcast] races,” he said. “We weren’t anywhere close to seven either day. We were lucky to get a card together for Friday.”

The draw for Thursday’s program was scheduled for Sunday. When the track failed to attract enough horses to conduct racing, the draw was postponed until Monday and then abandoned early Monday afternoon. The track will be open for simulcasting Thursday.

Friday’s eight-race program drew 62 horses, or an average of 7.75 entrants per race. The number is likely to be reduced by scratches before the races are run.

Entries in recent days have been affected by a 15-day suspension being served by leading trainer Doug O’Neill for an overage of total carbon dioxide in Illinois in April. O’Neill began his suspension June 30 and said at the time that he would have no starters during that span through his assistant, Leandro Mora. O’Neill has had 151 starters at the meeting. No other trainer has more than 98.

Through Monday, the spring-summer meeting averaged 7.72 starters per race, compared to 8 during the corresponding period of the 2009 meeting. For the entire 2009 spring-summer meeting, fields averaged 7.94 horses per race.

“I just wish the trainers would enter their horses,” Liebau said. “We’ve got 2,800 horses, and I can’t fill on Thursday. I don’t understand.”