Hollywood Park Closes for Good
THIRTY FEET IN THE AIR: Horses and jockeys race down the track in the 7th race Saturday, during the last weekend of racing at Betfair Hollywood Park. The historic 237 acre park, located in Inglewood, CA, is closing after 75 years to make way for housing and retail development. The final weekend of live racing was held December 21 and 22, 2013 in Inglewood, CA.
Park bugler Jay Cohen marks off the final day on his handmade wall calendar after clearing out his office. He has worked at the track since 1988. Cohen played “Thanks for the Memories” for fans on the last day.
Race 10 on the last day was named “Thanks for the Memories” in commemoration of the park’s closing.
In the exclusive Turf Club, a woman spends the afternoon at the park for the last time. The Turf Club served many celebrities over the years and features fine dining, wait service, and private viewing screens at each table.
Jockey Irving Orozco signs a commemorative poster for a fan. Orozco placed second atop Miracle Merger in the second race of the day on Sunday.
The horses leave the gates Sunday night for the start of the last race to ever be held at the park.
Jockey Corey Nakatani, atop Woodmans Luck, edges Depreciable by a nose in a photo finish during the last race. Trainer Vladimir Cerin said, “I almost would have taken a four-horse dead heat there and let everyone have a piece of the last race. When they were coming down the stretch, all I could think of is how sad that it was over. I didn’t think he could win from where he was. Nakatani has given us some fantastic rides this meet. I think this is the second photo finish he’s won for us like this. When I started training here, I think it took me a year to win my first race and to have it end like this just seems surreal.”
Jockey Corey Nakatani is the last jockey to head into the jockeys room after winning the last race. “Well, I made history,” Nakatani said. “I won the last race and got the last set of days (he received a three-day suspension from the stewards earlier Sunday) at Hollywood Park. Kind of bittersweet. That was really emotional. It’s hard to really say that much. This has always been such a great place to be. After winning a bunch of races here, it’s hard to see it go. It’s pretty sad.”
Park patron Alfred Montez, right, and friend attempt to remove the “Finish Line” sign from the restaurant at the end of the night. This sign proved too difficult to remove with the simple tools they had. Montez has been coming to the track since he was 18. In his hands are signs from the betting areas that he removed with a tool moments earlier. He says he plans to sell some on EBay. He explained that with all of the money he has spent at this track over the years, he feels he is entitled to take these signs. Later in the evening, signs were seen near the exits in piles that exit guards had confiscated from patrons. It’s not clear whether they were the same signs Montez and friend removed from the walls.