I really loved Hollywood Park.
When I was first getting into racing, I made a point to watch on TV the Hollywood Gold Cup, the Matriarch, the Futurity, the Starlet, the Swaps. Important races from an important track, and I had to see what happened.
I loved that it was across the parking lot from the Forum, the old school former home of the Lakers. I loved watching the Hollywood Park replay shows on TVG, my daily meeting with Kurt Hoover. I loved the Turf Festival in November, where, as a ten year-old boy, I would dream about Southern California Thanksgivings.
I went to Hollywood Park once. It was November 2013, about a month before the track closed for good, making way for, at the time, shops and apartments, and now for a new NFL stadium. They had been playing great music all day on the PA and around the call to post for the last race, “Keep Me in Your Heart” by Warren Zevon came on. It was a stunningly beautiful moment. The sun was going down, I had won some money and I got my chance to say thanks and nice to meet you to a California racing legend.
Here are some of the photos I took from that day.