Supporters of California’s venerable Hollywood Park Racetrack, which held its last race on December 22, and is due to be demolished later this year, are fighting to revive the track that was once the playground of stars during Hollywood’s Golden Age.
The track opened in 1938 with Hollywood moguls such as Harry Warner of Warner Brothers among its founding members. However, last year the owners determined that its 260 acres were more financially viable as a residential and commercial development.
If the American Association of Equine Sports Preservation has its way, the track would be preserved as sort of a memorial to racing, with an entertainment complex, equine training park and center for the use of horses as therapy for human patients.
The group, along with some TV personalities such as the “horse whisperer” Monty Roberts, is lobbying California Governor Jerry Brown and collecting signatures on a petition to try to save the park and to list it as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They have also appealed to their U.S. representative, Maxine Waters.
The group’s letter to the governor argues that saving Hollywood Park would boost Inglewood’s economy where unemployment is currently 13.5 percent. “We feel Hollywood Park could indeed be preserved, as well as support a new string of restaurants, retail shops, and an entertainment center to feature Broadway shows from New York and other cities – becoming a ‘Madison Square Garden of the West,’ ” says the letter.
The group says it does not want Hollywood Park to undergo the same fate as Bay Meadows, which was closed and then the promised development did not happen.