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Vintage Photos Of Hollywood Park's Golden Era Before Its Very Last Horse Race
The historic Hollywood Park will be having its very last horse race on Dec. 22 before it shuts its gates to the public forever.
The 75-year-old race track that was once popular with the glamorous stars of early Hollywood cinema will be torn down come January. The 238-acres will be transformed into a mixed-use space of commercial retail and office spaces, parks, and nearly 3,000 homes, according to HollywoodParkTomorrow.com.
Bob Hope and Joan Crawford were among the first celebrities of 40,000 people to participate in the park's opening day on June 10, 1938, according to The New York Times. Celebrities spent time in ritzy Hollywood Park's members-only Turf Club.
"Fred Astaire used to sit next to me in the box seats," said Vince DeGregory, 81, a jockeys' agent who was dazzled when he arrived from New York in 1970. "Burt Bacharach was my good friend. Vince Edwards ('Ben Casey') would always be here."
Just over a month after the opening of Hollywood Park, Seabiscuit (remember that movie with Tobey Maguire?) won the first Hollywood Gold Cup, and Citation was the first racehorse that made over $1 million in earnings, reported Los Angeles Daily News. Hollywood Park's rich history includes how it was chosen as a host to the first Breeders' Cup, and also had to be rebuilt after a harrowing fire in 1949.