12 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About The Late Great Hollywood Park Racetrack


Hollywood Park Racetrack in Inglewood closed Sunday after 75 years in service. The once grand venue will be demolished and replaced with 3,000 homes and a shopping center. Here are a dozen things you probably didn’t know about the late great track:


  • All the proceeds from one race day were donated to the Inglewood YMCA to construct a new building in 1945.
  • The clubhouse pavilion is named after longtime patron Cary Grant.
  • The entire ¼ mile original grandstand was destroyed in a 1949 fire.
  • In 2006, Hollywood Park became the first racetrack in California to install artificial turf.
  • Mervyn LeRoy, famous as the director of The Wizard of Oz, was also the director of Hollywood Park from 1941 until his death in 1986.
  • 62 people were injured in a melee in 1976 after a robber stole $4700 from a betting window and it flew into the crowd.
  • Architect Stiles O. Clements designed the original streamline modern Turf Club in 1938. Clements also designed the Wiltern, El Capitan, and Mayan Theaters.
  • The black and white drama Wall Of Noise, starring Suzanne Pleshette, was filmed at the park in 1963. My favorite quotes from the New York Times review: “just another routine romance, cheaply conceived and contrived” and “hideously vulgar and cruel.”
  • The American Totalisator Company installed 450 TIM 300 machines in 1979, making Hollywood Park the first in the Western United States to install electronic betting.
  • From 1938-1975, a “goose girl” in “native Dutch dress” was appointed to keep the 500 geese on the infield lake from being stampeded by running horses.
  • The track was once home to a Carnation ice cream parlor.
  • Three equine graves will be disturbed for the project. Landaluce, Great Communicator, and Native Diver will be relocated to San Diego.


Photograph by Doc Searles