12/17/2008 1:00AM

No timetable to develop track, officials say


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The clock is ticking on Hollywood Park, but how fast? Its current owner, Stockbridge Real Estate Funds, has said it will develop the property, and a report this week in the Los Angeles Business Journal said that process would begin Aug. 1 of next year.

However, no timetable has been given to the current operators of the racetrack, according to Jack Liebau, the president of Hollywood Park, and Eual Wyatt Jr., the track's vice president and general manager.

"Neither Eual nor myself are involved in the real-estate development side of the business," Liebau said in an interview with Wyatt on Wednesday in the track's executive offices. "We continue to operate the track as though racing is going to be conducted indefinitely, which is the mandate I had when I came here in 2005."

Stockbridge earlier this year closed Bay Meadows, and it is developing the property.

"I went through this with Bay Meadows," Liebau said. "I went there in 1992, and they were saying then it was going to be the last year. They finally got me after 15 years."

Stockbridge "has enough capital on hand to begin work in August," the Los Angeles Business Journal story reported, citing Chris Meany, a partner at Wilson Meany Sullivan, as its source. That development firm is handling the project for Stockbridge, which bought Hollywood Park from Churchill Downs in 2005.

The development could take 10 to 15 years, according to Meany. It includes retail space, office space, condominiums and townhomes, and a park. According to the story, the adjacent card club would be renovated, not demolished.

The Business Journal story said "the massive mixed-use development is no sure thing, especially given the state of the commercial real estate market, which has stymied big projects in Los Angeles and elsewhere."

"Stockbridge," the story said, "is betting that the market will have recovered by the time major portions of its project are ready to open."

Developers recently submitted a preliminary environmental impact report, according to the story.

Several Malibu hopefuls tune up

Into Mischief worked seven furlongs in 1:27.40 on Wednesday morning at Santa Anita in preparation for the Grade 1, $250,000 Malibu Stakes on Santa Anita's opening day, Dec. 26.

"That's his big work before the Malibu," said his trainer, Richard Mandella.

Into Mischief could be making his final career start in the Malibu, Mandella said.

Into Mischief's owner, B. Wayne Hughes, owns Spendthrift Farm near Lexington, Ky. Though Hughes is a longtime resident of Malibu, Calif., Mandella said the owner spends more of his time in Kentucky these days.

"He lives on that farm now," Mandella said.

Another potential Malibu starter, El Gato Malo, worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park on Wednesday in 1:13.20 for trainer Craig Dollase.

Biancone has French connection for Dahlia

Patrick Biancone, who recently returned to training, was preparing on Wednesday to welcome Place de L'Etoile to his barn for the Grade 2, $150,000 Dahlia Handicap on closing day Sunday.

Place de L'Etoile, owned by Paul Shanahan, was scheduled to arrive here late Wednesday from France, where she has been trained by John Hammond.

"The owner said if she travels well, let's go," Biancone said. "They kind of had big expectations for her, but she hasn't accomplished what they thought she would. John called the other day and said she worked well."

Gomez suspended for Hong Kong rides

Jockey Garrett Gomez was suspended for two days by the Hong Kong Jockey Club for careless riding last Sunday at Sha Tin.

According to the Hong Kong ruling, Gomez had to serve those days by Sunday, when Hollywood Park ends. Hollywood Park's stewards, acting on the reciprocity of the Hong Kong ruling, have ruled Gomez not ride this Friday and Saturday. However, Gomez still will be able to ride Pioneerof the Nile in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity on Saturday, because Grade 1 races are not subject to suspensions.

Rain gives Lobo an opportunity

As rain pounded Hollywood Park on Wednesday, trainer Paulo Lobo hoped it would keep coming. He has Persian Honey entered in the fifth race on Friday, and though the race is carded at six furlongs on turf, Lobo entered with the hope that enough rain would force it to be moved to the main track.

"If they switch it to the main track, it is not going to hurt her," Lobo said.

Persian Honey has won two straight at this meet, against $8,000 and $20,000 claimers. Friday, she is in a first-level allowance. Dee Dee Williams, an apprentice who gets a 10-pound allowance, will ride.

"My filly likes light weight," Lobo said.

Orman relocating to Turkey

Jason Orman, native of Canada, plays in a hockey tournament in Thailand every year, and has trained in Saudi Arabia and Singapore. He's getting ready to get his passport stamped again. Orman, who currently has 10 horses at Santa Anita, said he has taken a job to train privately in Turkey, beginning the first of the year.

"I just flew over there three weeks ago and got the job through a friend in Kentucky," said Orman, who said "Istanbul is really a neat city."

A world traveler like him ought to know.