TimeformUS Weekend Plays: The Hollywood Park Swan Song

Before jumping into analysis of this weekend's top stakes races, we asked TimeformUS contributor Bob Barry to reflect on the closing of Hollywood Park.

The Hollywood Park Swan Song
By Bob Barry

What can you say about a seventy-five-year-old racetrack that died?

That she was young and beautiful back when “Old Hollywood” was still just “Hollywood”; that she remained beautiful years later, even as the pictures got smaller and Cary Grant’s hair turned white; that for decades it was the place where Hollywood’s and racing’s biggest stars came out to play.

It is no secret that newspaper editors love both celebrities and these “end of an era” stories, and the upcoming closure of Hollywood Park gave license to run enough of those archived photos to fill a warm, nostalgic bath. The New York Times filled more than two pages in last Sunday’s Sports section with some tender memories of people who will sincerely miss the place. And while some of those great photos traded on the celebrity angle (the one of Shirley MacLaine, circa “Irma la Douce,” horsing around with her chestnut filly namesake is a classic), it was the great horses who got top billing.

Seabiscuit. Citation. Dr Fager. Affirmed. Spectacular Bid. If you were a great race horse from the golden days of the pari-mutuel era, chances are, you came to race at Hollywood Park. Even as Old Hollywood began to die off, and the crowds thinned out, and surrounding Inglewood went to seed, you could still count on horses like Cigar and Zenyatta to provide the missing star power.

Track management at Hollywood was quite inventive at its best. It was Hollywood that originated the Pick Six, and the track’s website claims they also originated the exacta (who knew?). But as Joe E. Brown could tell you, nobody’s perfect, and yes, mistakes were made. A Goose Girl would not have played at stolid old Belmont Park, but at the Track of the Lakes and Flowers she made sense. Sinking the Goose Girl and importing flamingos from Hialeah made no sense whatsoever, and moving the finish line farther down the stretch to improve the view for the high rent district at the expense of the grandstand patrons was downright hostile. By the time Churchill Downs flipped its fixer-upper to the Bay Meadows Land Company in the midst of the real estate bubble, the writing was on the wall, and on Sunday it becomes an epitaph.
In their advance obituary, the LA Weekly’s headline blared “Hollywood Park is Shutting Down. Will Horse Racing be Next?”  Well, everything comes and goes, but to say that a track that got caught up in a land rush is somehow perfectly illustrative of racing’s future is, in a word, nuts. Those who show up on-track and supply 10% of Hollywood Park's handle surely deserve better, and we hope they find a nice simulcast location, either at home or not far from it. But late Sunday afternoon, just south of Pincay Drive, a bell will ring one last time, an allowance field will take one last lap around the turf course, the “official” light will come on one more time, and that will be that.

Sunday Betfair Hollywood Park, Race 10, Local Post Time 5:05pm PT
The King Glorious Stakes, 7F, 2YO Ca-Bred, Synth
By Justin Finch

Jerry Hollendorfer has had quite a meet, and it looks as if he has a good chance to add a win in the King Glorious.

FREE TimeformUS PPs for the King Glorious
A Special Offer on Unlimited PPs for Bloodhorse Readers

The TimeformUS Pace Projector puts Pray Hard on a clear early lead today, but he has proven that he doesn't need one to run well.

TimeformUS Pace Projector for the King Glorious

He has strong speed figures. Hollendorfer gets Trainer Ratings of 100 when using Bejarano, 98 in two-year-old stakes races, and 94 when coming off a maiden victory.

Timeform US Trainer Ratings for Jerry Hollendorfer

We don't love the way Pray Hard was lugging out in the stretch last time, but in other respects, he was visually impressive in his last two starts.

TimeformUS PPs for Pray Hard

He is our selection. 

Saturday Gulfstream, Race 9, Local Post Time 4:33pm ET
The G3 Dania Beach Stakes, 1 Mile, 2YO, Turf
By Douglas Salvatore

TimeformUS Pace Projector for the Dania Beach

Normally, when we see a 5/2 morning line favorite who isn't competitive on our speed figures, we get very excited about the prospect of tossing him and cashing in on an exciting betting opportunity.

FREE TimeformUS PPs for the Dania Beach
A Special Offer on Unlimited PPs for Bloodhorse Readers  

However, said favorite Pleuven is one that we aren't very excited about opposing. Yes, his most recent speed figure is only a 78, but that figure came in a minor stakes race in France, at Longchamp. The race was also in Mid-July, and two-year-old colts start to develop by leaps and bounds this time of year.

Pleuven has had 161 days to mature since his last race. He is bred to greatly appreciate the added distance. He is going to get the medication lasix for the first time, and he's trained by the mighty Chad Brown.

TimeformUS PPs for PLeuven

Chad Brown has been an absolute alchemist with foreign imports. Throughout his training career, Brown is 10-for-25 (40% wins and a $3.20 ROI) with foreign shippers making their first start for him. In many instances, he's succeeded at turning the base metal into gold, and they've made grand form reversals.

The last time Pleuven was defeated in a race was on June 2nd, when he finished 3rd to Testa Rossi, a filly who was later transferred to Chad Brown and captured the Miss Grillo at 5/1 odds before finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

The bottom line is that Pleuven is an import with many powerful angles working in his favor. However, we must still oppose him simply because he's a short price and must really make a leap to win this.

The best value of this race, based on Morning Line price, is certainly Request at 8/1 odds. This second-time starter by Dynaformer is also trained by Chad Brown. Get a look at Chad Brown's Trainer Ratings in the relevant statistical categories with this horse!

TimeformUS Trainer Ratings for Chad Brown

Request ran an excellent 89 speed figure in his debut, and he did it with a wide trip. Javier Castellano retains the mount, and he wins at 31% on Chad Brown horses.

TimeformUS PPs for Request

For exotic wagering purposes, the two other horses that interest us are Yes I'm Lucky and Bon Accord. Both of them ran extremely well in their most recent turf race and have obvious credentials.

A final note from this race is to pay attention to Mr. Speaker once he gets lasix. This Shug McGaughey-trained horse caught our eye with his maiden win at Belmont last time out. We think Mr. Speaker is in very tough today, but Shug's Trainer Rating is a poor 42 with no lasix. The Phipps family is against two-year-olds racing on lasix. Look for this horse potentially to improve quite a bit in his next start, when he gets the medication. Orb made a grand form reversal with the addition of lasix as a three-year-old, and this one might also get a boost from the medication.

Betting Strategy: Win bet on Request. Use him with Yes I'm Lucky and Bon Accord in the exotics.


Leave a Comment:

Mary Zinke

Dania beach: 6,5,3,2. Why: 6Faced faster pace(6 and 5 in graded stakes), 5speed, 3Brown that has been running well, even though only 1 race lately, 2Euro Brown with a long layoff, but could maybe beat all of these.

I'm very sad about my friend and all of the Barn 70 South sweeties having to leave their happy, peaceful home at Hollywood Park.  If you view the BHP races on calracing, they may play "Happy Trails" after the final race, as they have done after each season closes at that track. Missing that lump in the throat event due to work. I had Jessie take photos of the nearby houses more of which will eventually replace the beautiful Hollywood Park grounds. What a shame.  

20 Dec 2013 12:48 PM

Yeah that is something about this country. We don't appreciate our history.  Tear it down and put up zero lot line subs.  Yippee!  Too many people live in a virtual world anymore as the real one slowly fades away.  What a shame indeed.  

20 Dec 2013 1:32 PM
Plod Boy Phil

A bit off topic,  Monopoly, a second time starter in the 4th at Aqueduct on Saturday, was spectacular in defeat when debuting at 7f while widest throughout and against the Flow of an Extreme for Speed.  Will move up in the polls after two turn try tomorrow.

20 Dec 2013 2:16 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Clarification to above:

Saturday, Aqueduct, R4, #1 Monopolize (2-1)

20 Dec 2013 2:19 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Hollywood Friday Race 7

7 Oscillator (7/2) and 9 J and S Express (9/2) both exit chasing runs behind the w-w winner of an Extreme for Speed.  Both will appreciate a closers Flow,  which is possible considering the amount of speed that is in the gate.

Tri boxes:  7, 9 with 2, 3, 8, 10 ($24).

20 Dec 2013 3:38 PM
Mary Zinke

BHP r7 o.o.f. 7,9,3,8. Congrats, Phil. I picked the wrong broodmares in that race.

20 Dec 2013 6:44 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Thank you Mary -

Exacta box or super the more productive play.

20 Dec 2013 6:51 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Two at Hollywood:

Race 5, 8 Judge Carr (6-1) has seen wrong side trips in two Extremes in the last three. Will try the turf for a second time as a sharper,  more developed runner. Pace scenario may favor an off the pace trip.

Race 9, 5 Brokered (4-1) has been on the wrong side of two straight modest speed Flows,  including his return off an 8 month lay-off. Work tab in the last 10 days inspires, as does the presence of favorite turf influence Eddington.

21 Dec 2013 12:16 PM

Monopolize just won his maiden at Aqueduct in the 4th, and with these connections Repole,Pletcher, I think this is a stakes colt.He is kind of laid back like another Bernardini they had (Stay Thirsty).He was under the whip to pass in the stretch and his speed figure shouldnt be that high.The Jerome is too soon and the Whithers is in early February so if they keep him in NY the timing might be the only thing keeping him from moving up to stakes company.

21 Dec 2013 2:34 PM

Monopolize just won his maiden at Aqueduct in the 4th, and with these connections Repole,Pletcher, I think this is a stakes colt.He is kind of laid back like another Bernardini they had (Stay Thirsty).He was under the whip to pass in the stretch and his speed figure shouldnt be that high.The Jerome is too soon and the Whithers is in early February so if they keep him in NY the timing might be the only thing keeping him from moving up to stakes company.

21 Dec 2013 2:35 PM
Mary Zinke

Okay, my GP picks were way off. I'll take a crack at BHP r10. 7,2,9,5.

21 Dec 2013 7:52 PM

Don't usually post on this column, but just got to the 11th at Hollywood for tomorrow...this is a real shame - just more negative pr...and I know the prospective absorbtion calendar for 2014 is unsustainable...just a shame

21 Dec 2013 11:36 PM
Plod Boy Phil

Hollywood Closing Day - Race 3

4 Tanquerray (3-1) impressed last out with a 'vs Plod Win' when running through a Speed favoring Flow from the back of the pack.  

Farewell Lakes and Flowers.

22 Dec 2013 8:48 AM


I am a fan of Bernardini but the above colt is not the best representation He took forever and  day to pass that sustain the advantage over a 32-1 longshot.

Mr. Repole had his glory days with Uncle Mo and those days will not return anytime soon.

The 2013 Derby winner Orb was produced from a mare sired by a Derby winner. That recurrence took 47 years and is unlikely to recur in in successive years. He will struggle to be a stakes horse but it would be a stretch for him to be Derby winner.

24 Dec 2013 9:36 PM
Plod Boy Phil

re: Monoploize

His MSW win on Saturday was achieved on a race track that was importantly Biased to Speed,  thus a 'Neutral or Better Win'.  Very inspiring two race foundation.

25 Dec 2013 1:20 PM

My point on Monopolize was that he was a stakes starter running in a maiden race because of his connections and his previous race.I won the bet on him that day,but I am not implying anything about his future other than it would surprise me if he didnt try stakes company in his next race.

I stated that his speed figure shouldnt be that high because he was under the whip to pass horses and seemed laid back like another Bernardini colt that these connections had Stay Thirsty.

Any bloggers that interpreted anything else on my previous posts in regards to this colt are wrong.

25 Dec 2013 1:59 PM

To continue on Monopolize he cost Repole 500,000,and imo he is an owner that likes an immediate return on his investment when possible,and after breaking his maiden in his second race and with Pletcher training him its very possible.

He had the screws tightened in the maiden race because after this one a Stakes race is next.If you dont know most of the trainers dont tighten the screws on their maidens early in their career,Pletcher is one that does.

BTW he usually gets colts that run on the front and put up high speed figures breaking their maidens,this one dosent fit that pattern but with these connections depending on who is in the stakes race he will run in, he will be single digit odds and maybe even the first or second betting choice.

Another reason not to run him in a stakes race next would be how he came out of this race health wise.

25 Dec 2013 7:09 PM

A pal of mine brought to my attention to a colt by the name Classic Giacnroll. When I initially heard the name I thought he was referring to a Standard Bred horse. I could not find any information on the colt as I was searching with the incorrect spelling of its name. When the correct spelling was determined I uncovered that the colt had a résumé reflecting (5 starts 2-1-1). His worst finish was 4th recorded in his 5 1/2F debut.

Why highlight an unknown colt with a résumé reflecting victories in a maiden/allowance race achieved at low level tracks? Well, I love a lot of the information I have uncovered.

Month Of Birth: May – I just love May foals. When they show ability early they are dangerous. The majority of Belmont winners in the last 10 years are May foals including Palace Malice.

Sire: Giacomo - Although Derby winners have dismal records a classic winning sires, I think Giacome is worth a gamble.  He has no Mr. Prospector and Northern Dancer in his 1st five generation. He therefore should make an interesting cross with Northern Dancer line mares.

Dam Sire: Storm Bird – Needs no introduction as he is from the most successful broodmare line in TC history. He is also the dam sire of Derby winner Thunder Gulch and Belmont winner Birdstone.

Inbreeding: There is no inbreeding in the 1st five generation. This is surprising as most thoroughbred pedigrees’ feature at least one inbreeding. Interestingly, Giacomo had no inbreeding in his 1st five generations. Greats such as Secretariat, Curlin and Invasor had no inbreeding in their 1st five generations.

The above information suits the profile I like for a Derby and might be laughable to many. The most important bid of information is the dam sire. Broodmares sired by the sons of Northern Dancer are amongst the best suited for producing classic winners.

Classic Giacnroll is likely to make his next start in the Jerome.  He will be 2nd time Lasix and the race is expected to be a very competitive. He will no doubt leave the gates at attractive odds. I think he is worth a small wager that is likely to provide a lucrative return.

26 Dec 2013 10:38 AM
Mary Zinke

No Santa Anita Opening Day blog?

Okay, These are a combination of Mary Vs. The Brain, with Big Guy confidence selections(I have never met The Brain, but he is almost always right--sometimes irritatingly so!):

SA r6: 1 Sweet Lulu!, 6, 4(Brain does not like EP here),3.

SAr8: 5 Zeewat(Brain does not like him here),8,12,2.

26 Dec 2013 10:53 AM
Mary Zinke

Sir Beaufort: Chalky No Jet Lag.

26 Dec 2013 10:55 AM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

Since no one else noticed, I'll congratulate you on some good picks to close out the year, the tri in particular.

26 Dec 2013 11:31 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Mary -

Merry Wednesday a day late.

Been waiting for a SA Blog myself - will post an opinion or two a bit later.


26 Dec 2013 11:34 AM
Plod Boy Phil

Thank you Rusty - hope all is well.

26 Dec 2013 11:50 AM
Mary Zinke

Turf filly, #3, is scratched from SA r6, so I'd use the 7.

I like 4 Luckarack down the hill, r5.

Hi Phil. Hope you had a nice holiday. My little fat boyfriend got a pony.  Easy keeper, for his playroom.

26 Dec 2013 12:26 PM
Rusty Weisner

Plod Boy Phil,

Yes, all is well, thanks.  Bought a house (not with gambling winnings, I don't need to tell you).  It puts things in perspective.  The shackles also make it hard to punch up tickets...

Enjoy the remainder of the holidays and have a Happy New Year.

26 Dec 2013 12:33 PM

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