Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Allred: Hollywood Park not involved with Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos Race Course owner Ed Allred said in an email Tuesday afternoon that Hollywood Park isn’t involved in any way, shape or form with the Orange County track and its agreement to take over thoroughbred racing dates from Fairplex Park in Pomona.

“Hollywood Park is in no way involved directly or indirectly in any dates that will be run at Los Alamitos,” said Allred. “My good friends, Richard Shapiro and Jack Liebau (former Hollywood Park president) are included in our 9 member board of directors. I repeat Hollywood Park will have absolutely no involvement in any sense of the word in Thoroughbred racing at Los Alamitos Race Course.”

Word in the industry was that Hollywood Park was involved in the movement of dates to Los Al in order to keep its company associated with the sport so that it wouldn’t have to pay out pensions right now to employees who were left without jobs when the track held its final thoroughbred meet last December.

The California Horse Racing Board isn’t expected to vote on the change of September dates until its May meeting.

If approved, thoroughbreds will run at Los Alamitos for two weeks before Del Mar’s summer meet and 11 dates after Del Mar, and right before Santa Anita’s autumn meet. Thoroughbred racing at Los Alamitos will be run on an extended one-mile dirt track. Los Alamitos doesn’t have a turf course giving trainers a built in break for grass horses.

Los Alamitos will run thoroughbreds during the day and its highly successful quarterhorse meet at night.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Horse racing, Santa Anita

Is there more to the Fairplex/Los Alamitos deal?

As most people know by now, Fairplex Park in Pomona is going out of the horse-racing meet business.

On Monday, it was announced Fairplex’s dates were moving to Los Alamitos. It was a story Southern California public handicapper Bob Ike (@bobike1) broke 10 days ago on Twitter.

This is now the third set of dates Los Alamitos has picked up for its new one-mile oval, which will feature thoroughbred racing in the daytime and quarterhorses at night. Previously, Los Al picked up two weeks right before Del Mar’s summer meet and three weeks after Del Mar’s new fall meet.

But that might not be the whole story.

The word on the street is that Hollywood Park’s old regime might have something to do with the dates shift from Fairplex to Los Al.

Yes, Fairplex wasn’t the best place, at least for fans of the thoroughbred game. I went once to experience it and never wanted to go back again.

Yes, Fairplex wasn’t willing to upgrade its facilities for just three weeks of racing a year. Understandable? Probably.

However, this is where it might get interesting and the California Horse Racing Board needs to pay attention.

If Hollywood Park is some how involved in this switch of dates and attaches its name to the new meet in any way, shape or form, it may not be good for former employees of the track in Inglewood.

You see Hollywood Park is on the hook for the pensions of the employees it laid off when it closed it doors to live racing. If it continues to run a meet, even at Los Alamitos, it doesn’t have to make those payoffs right now and that’s just not right. The CHRB needs to investigate this and not allow it. Those people who worked at Hollywood Park, and were laid off, are entitled to their money.

Two things bothered me regarding a release from the Thoroughbred Owners of California about the situation.

The release said the two tracks along with other “California horse racing industry leaders,” were in discussions on the dates transfer for several weeks.
Then there was the statement in the release from Los Alamitos.
“Naturally we are excited about the prospect of adding additional dates to our 2014 thoroughbred racing calendar, and we are very appreciative to Fairplex for the opportunity to conduct and manage their race meet here at Los Alamitos,” said Brad McKinzie, who is the Los Alamitos Racing Association’s vice president. “We plan to immediately work with the CHRB and other industry stakeholders to make sure these racing dates are used to add value to the California Thoroughbred racing calendar.”
The words “industry leaders” and “industry stakeholders” seem to throw up a red flag.

I hope Hollywood Park isn’t involved, and I hope the CHRB isn’t involved, either. It should have more compassion to people who gave their lives to the industry for all those years.

The CHRB is not expected to take up the issue before its May meeting.

There also may be some changes to the 2015 Southern California horse racing schedule. If Santa Anita’s new spring/summer meet doesn’t go well, or there are problems with overuse of the turf course, you could see Los Al get more dates in June next year and trade those dates back to Santa Anita in the fall right after Del Mar closes.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Del Mar, Hollywood Park, Horse racing, Santa Anita

HRTV finally coming to Del Mar, sort of

Finally, HorseRacing Television (HRTV) will be able to show the races from Del Mar beginning next summer.

For years, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has had an exclusive agreement with TVG, but the California Horse Racing Boasrd had other ideas.

“The CHRB wanted this to happen,” said Josh Rubinstein, senior vice president, development for the DMTC on Thursday. “We were fine with it as long as TVG was, too. They were our partner.”

After two weeks of negotiations, an agreement was announced at Thursday’s CHRB meeting.

“Everyone will be probably compensated,” said Rubinstein, as both HRTV/Xpressbet and TVG are also in the advance deposit wagering business, too.”The more people that receive the Del Mar product, the better.”

What’s to be determined is whether HRTV personalities will actually be on the Del Mar grounds?

The simple answer is probably not.

The agreement will likely be like the one currently in place at other Southern California tracks.

At Santa Anita, HRTV is on-site while TVG just talks and shows the races from its studios in Santa Monica. At Hollywood Park, TVG is on-site while HRTV talks about the races from Arcadia.

Whatever the case, at least horse racing fans will have a choice of which network they want to get their handicapping information from. Todd Schrupp/Simon Bray vs. Laffit Pincay III/Kurt Hoover.

Rubinstein did add TVG would continue to handle the inter-track wagering show like it has for the last few years.

@Jeff_Nahill on Twitter

Horse racing

No HRTV at Del Mar, yet

Don’t plan on watching the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s races on HRTV beginning with next Wednesday’s opener.

The current television swap between TVG and HRTV for Santa Anita and Hollywood Park ends on Sunday with Hollywood’s last race, said Josh Rubinstein, Del Mar’s chief operating officer, in an email.

“Del Mar is currently under a marketing contract with TVG which includes broadcast exclusivity,” said Rubinstein.

Industry leaders, including the California Horse Racing Board, have long wanted Del Mar on both TVG and HRTV, and Rubinstein said he has been part of those discussions, but the situation remains “status quo.”

“If Del Mar’s signal were to be available on HRTV it would – given our current agreement (with) them – need to be blessed by TVG,” said Rubinstein.

TVG is a polarizing network among bettors, mainly for its “send it in” approach from its on-air talent.

Aside from TVG’s Simon Bray, who is a fantastic handicapper and former trainer, HRTV would seem to have the better on-air talent with the likes of handicappers Jeff Siegel, Kurt Hoover and Millie Ball plus the deft hosting of Laffit Pincay III.

HRTV’s only downfall might be that it doesn’t give selections early enough for some bettors to wager, but when races are right on top of each other, it is tough. HRTV also doesn’t give enough time to wagers like Southern California’s Pick 5 and offer fans an overview of all races in the sequence.

@Jeff_Nahill  on twitter