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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Say GoodBye to Hollywood, 1938-2013

INGLEWOOD - The last day of racing at Hollywood Park
Today was the last day of racing at Hollywood Park, one of my favorite places on Earth. Sad to see it go, but such is the state of horse racing in 2013-14.

It made me think of more than just a race track closing.  It made me think of all the changes since 1938, all the changes since 1978 (when Billy Joel brought "Say Goodbye to Hollywood" to life). I thought hard about all the changes since 2007-08 and, really, the changes since  -- yesterday.

Said Billy Joel of Hicksville and the Town of Oyster Bay:
"Bobby's drivin' through the city tonight,
Through the lights, in a hot new rent-a-car
He joins the lovers in his heavy machine
It's a scene down on Sunset Boulevard
Say goodbye to Hollywood
Say goodbye, my baby
Say goodbye to Hollywood
Say goodbye, my baby
Johnny's takin' care of things for a while
And his style is so right for troubadours
They got him sitting with his back to the door,
Now he won't be my fast gun anymore
Say goodbye to Hollywood
Say goodbye, my baby
Say goodbye to Hollywood
Say goodbye, my baby
Movin' on is a chance you take
Any time you try to stay - together,
Say a word out of line,
And you find that the friends you had
Are gone forever,
So many faces in and out of my life
Some will last,
Some will just be now and then,
Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes
I'm afraid it's time for goodbye again
Say goodbye to Hollywood
Say goodbye, my baby
Say goodbye to Hollywood
Say goodbye, my baby"

Here is the LA Times' coverage:

Hollywood Park is Closing

After 75 years of horse racing, (sponsor) Hollywood Park has reached closing day. The Inglewood track will close its doors permanently after Sunday's 11-race card.

The $200,000 King Glorious Stakes for 2-year-olds at seven furlongs is the final stakes to be run. The jockey champion could come down to the final race, with Rafael Bejarano and Joe Talamo in a tight competition. First post is 12:30 p.m.

Hollywood Park opened in 1938 and has seen some of the greatest thoroughbreds in history race on its track. There was Seabiscuit, Citation, Swaps, Ack Ack, Native Diver, John Henry, Landaluce and Zenyatta.

Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay Jr. used to duel in the jockey standings. Legendary trainers Charles Whittingham and Willard Proctor did battle on the backstretch. There was Harry Henson and his memorable race calls and Hollywood celebrities who used to hang out in the turf club.

"I'm going to miss this place," said trainer Mike Mitchell, second all-time in training victories with more than 900. "A lot of memories."

The stable area will remain open for another month, and an auction is planned to sell off memorabilia and other racing assets.

Santa Anita will take over as the Southland's primary race track with its expanded winter meeting on the day after Christmas.,0,6240856.story#ixzz2oFvT7QCM

A little musical tribute from the Piano Man and Long Islander, Billy Joel:

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