Horse Racing at Hollywood Park then a stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame
26.04.2013 - 26.04.2013 23 °C
The Hollywood Park Race Track was opened in 1938 by the Hollywood Turf Club which included many stars, directors and producers of the film world amongst its shareholders. That year the legendary Seabiscuit (on whom the 2003 film of the same name was based) won the inaugural running of the Hollywood Gold Cup, the track’s signature race. Unfortunately it has been announced that the track will close at the end of 2013 for good so our visit was the last chance to see it before it is built over with condos.
The dated elegance of the track was stunning with row upon row of very smart boxes for spectators all the way down to track side although it was pretty empty the day we were there. We were in the Turf Club with excellent views of the course and finishing post along with personal waiter service at our table. Beneath the seats it was also very well kept with the frequent references to the Gold Cup reminding me of the Cheltenham Gold Cup back home.
The track itself was immaculate and like a picture postcard with two pretty lakes and palm trees in the centre. The occasional aircraft flew low overhead as the track is directly under the final 3 miles of the flight path into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Before each race there was an opportunity to go down to the paddock and view the horses as they warmed up. We were allowed into the centre of the ring so I think they mistook us for owners! Before each race a trumpeter would announce it with a blast of his trumpet and the horses would then be loaded into the starting gate.
Before each race we placed small bets at the betting desk behind the Turf Club Terrace, very different from the rows of bookies with boards quoting their odds I am use to back home. The starting gates would then open and the race get underway with the horses galloping around the track. We actually did quite well, I placed 5 bets and came away with 1 winner and 2 second place!
After a successful afternoon at the races we drove into the heart of Hollywood in search of the Hollywood Sign and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. On the way we passed the Capitol Records Tower built in 1956 when EMI acquired Capital Records and now a heritage listed building. Where best to see the sign wasn't obvious but after a drive around the narrow streets of the Hollywood Hills and asking a local we got our postcard shot from Beechwood Drive.
It was then time for a stroll along the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard. Started in 1958, it consists of over 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard honouring achievement in the entertainment industry.
Part of the way along the Hollywood Walk of Fame is the famous Chinese Theatre built in 1927. In its forecourt there are concrete blocks which bear the signatures, footprints, and handprints of famous movie stars from the 1920s up until the present day.