The Hollywood Park racetrack still exists, although soon it will be torn down for development. The final day of racing was Dec. 22, 2013 and the 11 races that day included the fourth race with Slight Edge, who has been training at Galway Downs since the San Luis Rey Downs Thoroughbred Training Center closed for renovation in June.
Slight Edge, a five-year-old gelding (as of Dec. 22; horse racing ages utilize a Jan. 1 birthday for all horses regardless of the date they are actually foaled) trained by Tony Locke, finished fourth in the seven-furlong race. Slight Edge was in fourth place entering the stretch but only 1 1/2 lengths behind leader Dickery Do.
“He ran real good,” Locke said. “He had his head in front and it looked like he was going to win it.”
Slight Edge finished 3 3/4 lengths in back of winner Handsome Dennis and three-quarters of a length behind third-place Boss of Me.
“He ran two good races close together, maybe too close together,” Locke said.
Slight Edge finished sixth in his Dec. 14 race at Hollywood Park. He was second in his Nov. 21 race at Hollywood Park.
“He’s been running every 21 days since except for the last week,” Locke said.
The Dec. 22 race was Slight Edge’s 12th career start and his tenth in 2013, all of which were since June 13.
“It would have been nice to have gone out with a win,” Locke said.
“It was a memorable day,” Locke said of Hollywood Park’s final day of racing. “I have a lot of fond memories of Hollywood Park.”
Locke was a jockey prior to retiring and becoming a trainer in 1996.
“I had my last ride at Hollywood Park,” he said.
Locke was in the Hollywood Park jockeys’ room in June 1994 watching the Stanley Cup finals on television when the programming was interrupted to show the chase of O.J. Simpson. He was also in the jockeys’ room in 1992 when the Los Angeles riots broke out following the acquittal of the four police officers accused of beating black motorist Rodney King.
“It’s a nice place,” Locke said. “I ran on the last day, which is pretty good.”
Locke understands that the closing of Hollywood Park was inevitable.
“You can’t do much about that. You can’t block progress,” he said.
Locke, who has been training his non-racing horses at Galway Downs since the closure of San Luis Rey Downs, has been given three stalls at the San Luis Rey facility once it reopens.
“I’m hoping for a few more, but they gave me three which will be okay to start off,” Locke said.
Locke will keep his additional horses at Galway Downs, including race-ready horses which will be shipped to the active track in time for their starts.