12/12/2013 2:31PM

Hollywood Park makes plans for auction, moving horse graves

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Betfair Hollywood Park will be dismantled rapidly after the final day of racing in track history on Dec.  22.

Hollywood Park president Jack Liebau said earlier this week that the track is making plans to hold a general auction of its holdings in January; that some basic equipment will be moved to Los Alamitos, which will host five weeks of Thoroughbred racing for the first time in 2014; and that arrangements have been made to move the graves of the prominent racehorses Landaluce and Native Diver who are buried on the property. The remains of Great Communicator, the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, also will be relocated, but a site has not been determined.

Hollywood Park will be developed for residential and commercial uses in 2014. After the Dec. 22 closing day of the current meeting, the grandstand will no longer be used. Simulcasting will shift to the adjacent casino, which is being remodeled to accommodate more racing customers.

An auction of racetrack equipment, ranging from cups and saucers to tractors, will be held on a weekend in January. Liebau said the date and catalog of items has not been finalized.

Liebau said some equipment from the turf club and grandstand will be sent to Los Alamitos. The items bound for Los Alamitos are wide-ranging, from small televisions on turf club tables to the rubber bricks in the paddock, which will be used in a refurbishment of the Los Alamitos paddock.

Liebau said he expects widespread public interest in the Hollywood Park auction. He conducted a similar event after the closing of Bay Meadows racetrack in San Mateo, Calif., in 2008.

“It was a huge success,” Liebau said.

Aside from the auction, the massive marble statute that commemorates the winners of the Hollywood Gold Cup will remain on the property in a park setting to be determined.

“It will be maintained,” Liebau said.

The graves of Native Diver, winner of three consecutive Hollywood Gold Cups from 1965-67, and Landaluce, the champion 2-year-old filly of 1982, will be relocated. Native Diver will be moved to Del Mar, while the remains of Landaluce will be moved to Spendthrift Farm in Kentucky.

“That is where she was bred,” Liebau said.

The timeline of when the grandstand will be demolished is not known, Liebau said. In early 2014, the process of dismantling the interior of the grandstand will begin. Hollywood Park would typically start its spring-summer meeting in late April. By that time of 2014, Liebau said he “doubted” that the grandstand would remain in place.

It also will take months to dismantle the barn area. Stables will remain on the backstretch through the end of January when horse must be sent to other racetracks in Southern California. Training will end Jan. 31.

The future of the synthetic track surface is unclear, Liebau said. The material must be removed for environmental purposes.

“At this point, we don’t know what will happen,” he said of the racing surface. “There have been inquiries from training centers and farms.”

Liebau said Hollywood Park does not have extensive ceremonies planned for the Dec. 22 closing day.

He said that all-sources handle at the meeting was down “2 or 3 percent” through last Sunday.

Liebau said he expects “a bump” in ontrack attendance for the final three days of the meeting, Dec. 20-22, as racing fans have their final days at the 75-year-old track.