Citation’s victory in the 1951 Hollywood Gold Cup made him the first horse to earn $1 million during his race career.
Affirmed’s victory in the 1979 ‘Gold Cup made him the first horse to achieve career earnings of $2 million. John Henry’s victory in the 1983 Hollywood Turf Course made him the first horse to achieve career earnings of $4 million. Hollywood Park started the exacta in 1971. In 1972 they had a major $3 million expansion project that doubled the size of the Turf Club, adding the Winner’s Circle Dining Room to the Clubhouse, and renovating the stable area.
Hollywood Park became the first track to average more than $4 million in daily handle in 1977. With a purse of $1,049,725, the 1983 Hollywood Futurity was not only the first million-dollar race for Thoroughbred 2-year-olds, it was the richest race staged for Thoroughbreds at the time. The 1 1/8-mile main track, incorporating a 1,321-foot stretch, was opened on Nov. 7, 1984 . Before a crowd of 64,625 and an estimated 50 million viewers, Hollywood Park was host to the inaugural Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 7, 1984 , handling a then-record $11,466,941.
Hollywood Park became the first track to host a second Breeders’ Cup, setting a handle record of $14,352,515 on Nov. 21, 1987 . The national handle of $36,398,366 was also a single-day standard. Daily purses averaged $340,296 at the 1994 Autumn Meeting – a Hollywood Park record. The $20-million Hollywood Park-Casino was opened on Friday, July 1, 1994 . Previously known as the Pavilion, the state-of-the-art card club/casino features California games and poker. It became an inter-track hit with simulcasts from within the State, throughout the U.S. , and from Hong Kong .
A Hollywood Park record $21,287,723 was wagered on 1995 Kentucky Derby Day. The mutuel pool on the first leg of the Triple Crown Classic of $4,621,694 was a state record as were the exacta and trifecta pools. California records of $377,880 to win and $524,348 across the board were wagered on Cigar in the 1995 Hollywood Gold Cup. The two-time Horse of the Year rewarded his backers by winning the race by 3 1/2 lengths to return $3.80. Hollywood Park hosted the Breeders’ Cup Championship for third time – first during R.D. Hubbard’s reign – and established a Southern California record handle (all sources) of $79,741,030. The on-track crowd of 51,161 was the largest in 10 years, but the day was flawless with smooth traffic flow into the track and championship racing on the track. Five winners clinched Eclipse Awards, including undefeated Favorite Trick, the first 2-year-old to be crowned Horse of the Year since Secretariat in 1972.
Hollywood Park introduced guaranteed million dollar Pick 6 at 1998 spring/summer meeting. A record $3,869,771 was wagered on Hollywood Park ‘s guaranteed $1.5-million Pick 6 on July 18, shattering the mark of $3,342,371 set June 14, when the track unveiled the popular promotion by guaranteeing a minimum Pick 6 pool of $1 million. The record $3.8 million Pick 6 pool on July 18 helped generate total handle of $18,994,274, highest in track history with the exception of Breeders’ Cup and Triple Crown events. The day’s handle was up 74%.
Churchill Downs Incorporated closed a $140-million transaction to acquire Hollywood Park Race Track on Sept. 10, 1999 . The deal included the Hollywood Park Casino, which was leased back to Hollywood Park Inc.