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Hollywood Park to close after 75 years

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Betfair Hollywood Park will close by year’s end and the 75-year-old racetrack property in Inglewood that hosted Seabiscuit and the first Breeders’ Cup in 1984 will be developed with new housing and retail by its owner.

It’s the second major California racetrack to close since 2008, when Bay Meadows near San Francisco was shuttered after 74 years to make way for a similar development.

The track announced Thursday it won’t apply to the California Horse Racing Board for 2014 dates, signaling the end of the line for a property whose future had been in question since Churchill Downs sold it to Hollywood Park Land Co. in 2005.

At the time, the new owner said racing would continue for a minimum of three years while an effort was made to revitalize the sport’s business model. But the track had little luck in stemming declines in wagering and attendance, problems that plague the racing industry nationwide. Statewide initiatives to install slot machines at the track also failed.

“From an economic point of view, the land now simply has a higher and better use, so, unfortunately, racing will not continue here once the 2013 autumn meet is completed,” track president Jack Liebau said.

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