02/06/2011 1:15PM

Hollywood plans mostly four-day weeks for spring-summer meet

Benoit & Associates
Hollwood Park plans to race mostly four-day weeks at its next meeting.

Hollywood Park plans to run primarily four days a week during the spring-summer meeting that runs from April 20 through July 19, track president Jack Liebau said over the weekend.

Liebau said there are two exceptions – the weeks of the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays – when five-day racing weeks will be held. Hollywood Park has yet to submit an application to the California Horse Racing Board detailing the specific racing dates of its spring meeting and is likely to do so later this month or in March.

A plan for four-day weeks is a reduction compared to what was offered during the spring-summer meeting in 2010. At the 2010 spring-summer meeting, the track ran a combination of four- and five-day weeks in a 57-day meeting that featured three fewer days than expected because of insufficient entries on some weekdays. During the fall 2010 meeting, the track ran mostly four-day weeks but had a drop in average field size, from 7.53 in the 2009 fall meeting to 7.29 in 2010.

The track scheduled three five-day weeks last December, on a Wednesday-through-Sunday basis, but went to four-day weeks for the final two weeks because of concern over field sizes.

With approximately 2,400 horses currently based at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, there is widespread concern that the Southern California circuit can no longer conduct racing five days a week and could struggle to hold four-day weeks.

“We probably have a couple of thousand horses and we can’t fill races,” Liebau said.

“I’m afraid it might come to some three days at some time.”

Liebau said Hollywood Park is still finalizing its purse structure and stakes schedule for the meeting, pending conversations with the Thoroughbred Owners of California.