SACRAMENTO -- A bill by Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins to allow the California Horse Racing Board to reallocate racing dates currently held by Hollywood Park Race Track, which is closing at the end of its 2013 winter season, has been signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bill permits these dates to be distributed to the remaining Southern California tracks, most notably Santa Anita and Del Mar Racetracks. AB 1074 also renews for one year the statewide marketing organization administered by the horseracing industry.
“Horseracing fans from all over Southern California have travelled to Del Mar since before Bing Crosby sang about where the surf meets the turf,” Atkins said. “My bill would position Del Mar to compete for the coveted Breeders’ Cup. This would be exciting for horseracing fans and a tremendous boon to our local economy.”
The Breeders’ Cup is a two-day event that features one of racing’s largest purses and is estimated to bring as much as $60 million into the local economy of the racetrack that hosts it.
Hollywood Park was opened for racing in 1938. The historic track has hosted some of racing’s most legendary horses, including Sea Biscuit, Affirmed and, more recently, Cigar. However, after years as one of the premier racetracks in the United States, Hollywood Park will close this year to make way for a new retail/residential development.
Del Mar Racetrack is located at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, in the northern San Diego County city of Del Mar. It was founded in 1937 by a partnership among a number of famous Hollywood celebrities, including Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien, Gary Cooper, Joe E. Brown and Oliver Hardy.
The marketing association renewed by this bill has been renewed every legislative session since it was established in 1998 by SB 27. That bill delineated both how the funds for the association were to be collected and how they could be disbursed.
AB 1074 is supported by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, and Thoroughbred Owners of California.