Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Sunday is the final day for all time at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif. After 75 years of historic racing, the track will close for good, awaiting redevelopment.
"For more than 75 years, Hollywood Park has been one of Thoroughbred racing's most treasured venues, hosting the sport's biggest names, from Seabiscuit to Zenyatta, Shoemaker to Pincay, Whittingham to Frankel," Alex Waldrop, President & CEO, National Thoroughbred Racing Association said in a statement. "The track's closure is a major loss not only for the Southern California circuit but also those who live and work at Hollywood Park. We commend California racing for its plan to redistribute Hollywood Park's live racing dates at Santa Anita, Del Mar and Los Alamitos with minimum disruption to horsemen and fans alike."
The last stakes race to be run at Hollywood Park will be the King Glorious Stakes for 2-year-olds at seven furlongs. The race is named for the colt that was undefeated in three stakes at Hollywood Park in 1988.
Owned by Four M Stables Inc. and breeder Halo Farms, King Glorious won his first two starts at Golden Gate Fields by a combined 17 lengths under the direction of trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
On July 23, 1988, King Glorious captured the Hollywood Juvenile Championship and followed with wins in the Hollywood Prevue and Futurity, Hollendorfer's first victory in a $1 million race.
Knee problems kept the colt from competing in the Triple Crown races even after returning on April 30 with a 21-length victory back at Golden Gate Fields in the Piedmont Stakes.
Next came the Gold Rush Handicap at Golden Gate. It proved to be the only loss for King Glorious, finishing second with Chris McCarron riding.
The 3-year-old bounced back with consecutive wins in the Ohio Derby, by four lengths, and the Haskell Invitational by three as the 7-10 favorite.
That marked the end of King Glorious' racing career, so it's appropriate that the stakes named for him is the final stakes to be run at Hollywood Park.
Sunday's King Glorious Stakes has attracted a field of 11 to go seven furlongs over Hollywood's synthetic main track.
Better Bet will be making his 12th start this season after a disappointing eighth in the Real Quiet Stakes. He broke his maiden in his fifth start and won the Golden State Stakes as a 47-1 longshot. Better Bet has won twice in 10 races for $190,380.
King Glorious' trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will have a pair of 2-year-olds, Life Is a Joy and Pray Hard, in the race.
Life Is a Joy, owned by Hollendorfer, his wife Janet and George Todaro, won his first three starts before a pair of fifth-place finishes in the Golden Gate Juvenile on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita and the Real Quiet Stakes Nov. 23 at Hollywood Park. The gelding has banked $93,330.
Owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, Pray Hard just won for the first time in his fifth career start. The gelding was fifth in his debut but followed with three straight runner-up finishes before claiming victory by 5 1/4 lengths on Nov. 30. Pray Hard has earned $62,100 in five starts.
Here is the field for the King Glorious Stakes, the last ever stakes at Hollywood Park: Smoove It, Mario Gutierrez; Pray Hard, Rafael Bejarano; Ghost of Harrenhal, Kayla Stra; Mass Transit, Joe Talamo; Alpine Luck, Alberto Delgado; Tizouttasight, Alex Bisono; Convoy, Martin Garcia; California Chrome, Victor Espinoza; Aotearoa, Corey Nakatani; Better Bet, Martin Pedroza and Life Is a Joy, Edwin Maldonado.