02/18/2013 2:14PM

Hollywood Park: Friday cards moving from evening to afternoon for spring-summer meet

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Betfair Hollywood Park will conduct racing on Friday afternoons for the upcoming spring-summer meeting, track president Jack Liebau said on Monday. The decision ends more than two decades of racing on Friday evenings during the spring-summer meet.

The track’s application for a spring-summer meeting from April 24 to July 14 will be heard by the California Horse Racing Board on Thursday. The application states that Hollywood Park will run afternoon programs throughout the season. Racing will be conducted largely on a Thursday-through Sunday basis.

In past years, Hollywood Park held rock concerts after racing on Friday nights in an attempt to attract younger audiences. Liebau said an effort to attract larger concert crowds with higher-profile bands was not successful during the 2012 spring-summer meeting.

“Last year, we went for the larger and more popular bands and it didn’t work out economically,” he said. “In past years, we had gone for one or two big bands. We decided to go all-in and it didn’t work.

“We had received some criticism, and I think some of it justified, that we weren’t able to convert concertgoers into racing fans. We had a lot of people that seemed to come just for the concerts. We’re not in the concert business.”

While the concerts attracted a larger-than-normal crowd than on a typical weekday, the added business did not result in higher mutuel handle, Liebau said. Because racing did not end until after 1 a.m. Eastern on Saturdays, there was a loss in simulcast business.

Liebau expects handle to be higher on Fridays for the forthcoming spring-summer meeting.

“I know I’ll do better on Fridays because of the time zones,” he said. “If you run Friday (nights), you’re sacrificing most of your out-of-state handle. We gave it a try.”

Hollywood Park has run Friday evenings during virtually every meeting since 1991, even through different owners. The track ran a series of twilight programs in 2001 that were considered unsuccessful.

The upcoming meeting could be the track’s last during the spring and summer. Liebau told the racing board in January that the track will operate through 2013, but did not commit to racing or being open for training in 2014.

The track’s parent company, Bay Meadows Land Co., has stated a desire to develop the property for residential and commercial uses.

Ron Stein More than 1 year ago
Those were the days!!!! When the Forum was open and Hollywood Park, was hoppin!!!! A day at the races,followed by a concert or a Laker game in the evening. Sad.....
Craig Mathews More than 1 year ago
They're packing it in folks. This is it...maybe one last Friday night in the fall, with fireworks to signal the end of racing in Inglewood. This track will close in December, mark my word. They don't want to be in the business, they shouldn't even get dates this year. Del Mar gets 12,000 people on a Thursday. Can anyone figure why they have 37 days? Someone on the board better wake up......no one there has a clue...
Cover2 More than 1 year ago
Look around, the adm at Hol is too high, $10, fri after 5th $12....Chg $1, give 2 people goin to concert, about $20 to bet with.......thats what $200K into handle ? ugh huh ! Ya have to cater to the crowd......GP, Fla.....retired folks, they have $50, half will go to seat & lunch........must have 10c P6, $50c tri et al ect ect......look at Hol during on track (unless big day HGC 8000) iTS a GHOST TOWN..... hey............... ..........NO TURF RACING at Los Al.........HORRAY FOR THE RED WHITE & BLUE
John More than 1 year ago
My group of friends in Jr High/High School, ALL of us got hooked on racing by a gimmick give away, that had everyone excited ! Ive written to Santa Anita when, unfortunatly Marc Verge was in charge, NO RESPONSE, .... its a simple game, contest, and even non gamblers end up at the racetrack ! To collect, you have to go on track ! I even sent a detailed script to SA.....................................its like "who cares" we dont want to increase handle or on track attendance, its more important to increase the take out ! WHO IS IN CHARGE ? No one who cares about racing ! THIS IS A SIMPLE WIN WIN IDEA, someone from Santa Anita, please call me ! Im a thouroughbred member, you have my # J Boyes
John More than 1 year ago
Good Riddins ! Its in a bad area, crime is bad, and going to a Friday night of racing is like taking your wallet with you and waving it about as you walk up Century Blvd ! Lets go the the races Ethel, Ill gas up the car and fill the clip on my Uzi !
sol rivera More than 1 year ago
My guess is that Santa Anita will eventually install a lighting system and night racing will be a huge success.
Raymond Hackinson More than 1 year ago
I remember when Belmont had concerts. Some were good i.e Johnny Cash, Manhattan Transfer, etc. but bands that attracted the yonger more rowdier crowd were part of the reason attendance of the horseplayer crowd declined. One time, teenagers threw beer bottles on the sloping outside roof of the paddock betting area and I almost got hit with one. Even Aqueduct tried boxing matches. It seems you cannot mix forms of entertainment such as concertpremier athletic events and raicing.
Tiny Montgomery More than 1 year ago
Two decades of Friday night racing? I know I'm getting old and my memory is failing, but I seem to have lost some time somewhere. Maybe I was abducted, what year is it?
jttf More than 1 year ago
every year hollywood says that they will close down the track. i cant stand organizations that constantly lie to the public. is this the correct way to get donations.
David More than 1 year ago
Why don't you just close the place and get it done already. You marketing team has nothing but excuse after excuses why business has slowed down. I think Ringling Bros are looking for a new marketing team. I know of at least 30 people that looked forward to Friday night racing. You just lost most of them and me for sure. Good luck you are going to need it.
miguelmunozlaw More than 1 year ago
The only time I've ever physically been to HP were on Friday nights and I'm an avid horse player. Santa Anita is a beautiful track and I don't mind spending a weekend day there. Not true for Hollywood Park. I saw a rat running around the apron last time I was there.... ugh!