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The last time fans will ever be able to go to Betfair Hollywood Park was this on Sunday. The track, which has been open for 75 years, closed after the day’s 11 races ended.
The track came back to life on its final day. Parking lots were jammed and there were long lines at all the betting windows. Attendance rose over 13,000 before gates were opened to everyone. The last time the track had seen a crowd this large was in October 2010, when the Zenyatta race occurred, drawing in over 25,000 people notes the Associated Press.
Jack Van Berg, the 77-year-old Hall of Fame trainer, blamed the state of California for the track's closure. "I just think it's a pathetic thing," he said. "It's ridiculous to let something like this that so many people love and thrive on close. They did everything they could to kill racing." Van Berg will be moving his operations to Oaklawn Park in Arkansas saying he doesn’t like the way racing is handled in California.
Plans to turn the track into a residential and retail development area will start next year.
Betfair Hollywood Park isn’t the only racetrack to close in California. Bay Meadows racetrack also closed in 2008 for similar development reasons.
Churchill Downs sold the land to Hollywood Park Land Co. in 2005 with developing the land being the main goal, reports the LA Times. It was agreed at the time of the sale that racing would continue for at least three years to see if they could increase attendance and wagers, but had no luck.