05/15/2009 11:00PM

Hollywood to reduce racing schedule


INGLEWOOD, Calif. Faced with a shortage of horses, Hollywood Park will reduce its racing schedule by one day per week over the next month, starting with the cancellation of live racing on Wednesday. Racing this week will begin Thursday.

The California Horse Racing Board on Friday granted Hollywood approval to trim its schedule through June 14.

Hollywood requested reduced racing days for the duration of the spring-summer meet that ends July 19. The CHRB granted the reduction only through June 14, but informed Hollywood it will reconsider the track s request for four-day weeks over the final weeks of the meet when the Board meets on June 5.

Currently, four racing days have been dropped; simulcast wagering will be offered on the affected days. The canceled cards are Wednesday, May 20; Thursday, May 28; Wednesday, June 3; and Wednesday, June 10. Wednesday, May 27 was previously scheduled as a dark day.

Live racing will be held Thursdays through Sundays, with the exception of the Memorial Day program on Monday, May 25.

Hopefully this will result in a better product for our patrons, track president Jack Liebau said in a prepared release. Due to the tough economy, the number of horses available to race has been reduced as evidenced by the entry box.

Hollywood averaged 7.58 starters per race, through Friday. During the 2008 spring-summer meet, Hollywood averaged 8.25 starters.

Hollywood Park will continue to offer free general admission on Thursdays, in addition to reduced prices on hot dogs, sodas and beers.