This morning, I read a very well written, yet melancholy article about the impending closing of Hollywood Park, and I wanted to share my thoughts on this with you.
Hollywood Park is not the prettiest track I've ever seen, it's no Del Mar or Santa Anita, Inglewood is not the greatest place to visit (except for the great Chinese food in a mini Chinatown nearby), and yet I'm sad to see it go.
It's where the first Breeders' Cup was run. And The Hollywood Gold Cup was regularly a first rate Grade I race.
As Aqueduct is to Belmont and Saratoga, so is Hollywood to Santa Anita and Del Mar. It provided a change of pace-literally. Something about its mile and an eighth oval made it a good track for pace handicapping, especially for those keeping a track profile. If you knew the profile, beautiful long shots could be gotten, especially in the early part of the meet.
I remember sitting at a race book in Las Vegas after a PIRCO seminar and coming up with two horses in the first two races at Hollywood Park at the beginning of a meet. At first glance these horses looked pretty dismal. Yet, they had the proper running style for the race and the track, and had a early percentage energy expenditure that was perfect for the track profile.
I had a $10 double bet with these two, and the double came back $800 and change. I was whooping it up and noted author Tom Brohamer came up to me and I showed him the ticket. He looked at the horses in the form, and said to me, 'Mikey, I just couldn't bet horses that looked like that'. I know exactly what he meant-his temperament and investment style did not not mesh with the kinds of calls I was making.
I can track my fondness for Hollywood Park to that day over 25 years ago. And for finding long priced Value Investments.
As the wrecking ball of the Bay Meadows Land Company comes down on storied Hollywood Park-as it did 8 years ago on Bay Meadows race track-it will be the end of an era, and perhaps a disturbing sign for the future of this great game.
The article is a good read, and the entire article can be read at the LA Weekly website at: http://www.laweekly.com/2013-12-12/news/hollywood-park-horse-racing/