07/17/2009 12:00AM

Hollywood to trim 4 days from fall meet

Email

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Hollywood Park will request four fewer days of racing during its upcoming fall meeting than originally allotted by the California Horse Racing Board, track president Jack Liebau said Friday.

Hollywood Park is scheduled to run a 31-day meeting from Nov. 11 through Dec. 21, but Liebau said the track plans to run 27 days. Instead of opening on Wednesday, Nov. 11, Hollywood Park will open Friday, Nov. 13. An additional Wednesday program will be eliminated and a Monday racing program, on Dec. 21, will be canceled. The schedule is subject to racing board approval in coming months, when Hollywood Park presents its formal application for the fall meeting.

Under the revised plan, Hollywood Park will run five days a week on at least four weeks of its six-week meeting.

"Those are our present plans," Liebau said.

During the current spring-summer meeting that ends Sunday, Hollywood Park eliminated Wednesday racing beginning May 20 because of a shortage of horses. The track forfeited nine Wednesdays from late May to mid-July and lost one additional day, April 30, because of insufficient entries.

The Southern California Thoroughbred circuit is suffering through a shortage of race-ready horses, owing largely to poor economic conditions. The upcoming Del Mar meeting was reduced from 43 days to 37 days after the track opted not to run on six Mondays.

Liebau said the move to a four-day week in the spring was vital because of the horse population and slow business, which could have resulted in a purse cut.

"With respect to going to a four-day week, it was by far our only alternative," Liebau said. "We got through the meeting without a purse cut, which I was dreading, and we were able to produce a card for each and every day we were scheduled to run. From that point of view, it was a success.

"If we had stayed at five days a week, we would have had a purse cut. Wednesday is a day you run and you don't generate sufficient purse money for the amount you give away. Even at four days, [racing secretary Martin] Panza had to struggle.

"We've got a shrinking horse population that is not attributable to horses disappearing, but a sign of economic times. We've got shrinking owners. As soon as they are able to monetize a horse, as far as getting it claimed or sold, they aren't replacing it. They aren't putting a horse in training. We're in a time when it costs up to $3,000 a month to train a horse and that's discretionary income."

Liebau said he remains optimistic that Hollywood Park will race in 2010. The track's parent company, Bay Meadows Land Co., has expressed a desire to develop the property for retail and residential uses. The Inglewood city council recently approved the company's long-range plans, but financing is not believed to be in place for a project valued at $2 billion.

Officials have said racing will continue until financing is in place. In addition, Hollywood Park has indicated it will give the racing industry a six-month notice of plans to close to allow for alternative scheduling and stabling for the approximately 1,400 horses that are housed there.

Asked about racing in 2010, Liebau said, "I haven't been told anything. I am optimistic."

Oceanside draws 28 nominations

Wednesday's $100,000 Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar drew 28 nominations, and the one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds is likely to be divided.

The nominations include Coronet of a Baron, who was third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf last fall; the multiple stakes winners Azul Leon and Backbackbackgone; and Flashmans Papers, who won the Eddie Logan Stakes over a mile on turf at Santa Anita last winter.

LaCroix, Capestro receive fines

Two trainers have been fined $1,000 after their horses tested in excess of permitted levels of common medications while undergoing workouts to be removed from the veterinarian's list.

David LaCroix was cited after Bye Bye Hollywood tested in excess of the permitted level of the anti-inflammatory flunixin after a workout at Hollywood Park on June 26.

Paula Capestro was fined after Gold Stock tested in excess of the permitted level of the analgesic bute at Santa Anita on May 23.

Horses must undergo workouts to be removed from the vet's list for a variety of reasons, including unsoundness. Such horses undergo routine drug tests after workouts.

Del Mar wagering deals in place

Del Mar will accept bets from the five account-wagering firms licensed in California during its upcoming meeting.

According to a statement released by the track on Friday, customers can bet through Delmarbets.com, TVG, Twinspires, Xpressbet, and Youbet. Last year, California residents needed accounts with TVG and Youbet to wager on Del Mar races. Del Mar officials stated last year that they wanted all available account-wagering services to have access to taking bets.

Delmarbets.com, which opened July 1, is a new platform developed by the track and operated by Xpressbet.