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Public Meeting On Future Of California Racing

Tuesday, 27th June 2006

The California Horse Racing Board held a public meeting "to discuss strategic planning for the future of racing in the state, emphasising the need to come up with a plan should 1 of the privately-owned tracks close & be developed for non-racing use," reported thoroughbredtimes.com. Bay Meadows Land Co (which owns both Bay Meadows Race Track & Hollywood Park) "has discussed redeveloping Bay Meadows into residential, retail & commercial space" & also confirmed "it is considering moving the racetrack from San Mateo county to cheaper land in an outlying Bay Area community". And Hollywood Park "could also be redeveloped if expanded gaming is not legalised at California racetracks". CHRB chairman Richard Shapiro encouraged "racing associations, fairs, horsemen & labor representatives to express their hopes & fears for racing in California, & to work with the CHRB to perpetuate & enhance racing in the state". Shapiro summed up: "There is no secret that 2 of our racetracks have been purchased & may be converted to alternative non-racing uses. Given the possibility that 2 or possibly even more tracks could close sometime in the future, it is prudent for this industry to look at all the options: to create & study possible alternatives to ensure prosperity for California horse racing. Recognising any deviation from the current racing facilities would entail long lead times, & possibly legislation, it seems like a good idea to get a jump on it. This is the 1st of many public meetings we will have to encourage the industry & fans to put forth their views & consider possible options. The closure of some tracks could mean opportunities for others. We need to explore the opportunities for racing in other locations."

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