Arcadia, Ca.--Though much of the racing industry has been concerned with the ominous state of affairs in New York, California is not the land of milk, honey, hay, oats and water it used to be.

While industry leaders in the Golden State have been dancing and spinning around the issue, insiders firmly believe that 2008 will be the last year of racing at Hollywood Park.

Like New York City, and Saratoga, for that matter, they sure love building their condos out West.

Bye Bye Hollywood; Hello High-Rise.

The closure of Hollywood Park would be a disastrous development for the state of the game in California. The same arguments one hears regarding the possible future sale of Aqueduct and its effect on the quality of downstate New York racing applies equally to Southern California.

Horseplayers cannot live by Santa Anita alone.

The Hollywood meet that began yesterday is an important event on the national calendar. Its fall meet alone has helped decide Eclipse championships for both equines and humans; in jockey races when money and riding titles are on the line, or when the Breeders Cup Juvenile events failed to clarify the issue of divisional supremacy.

Hollywood Fall whets the appetite for the prestigious Santa Anita winter meet. The way Belmont Spring sets the stage for Saratoga.

For Southern California, racing at Hollywood Park is no extravagance. But California racing people say they are powerless to erase the graffiti they see on the wall.

As an aside, I wonder how the advocates for privatization of New York racing--you know, making the New York tracks accountable to stockholders--would view the sale of Hollywood Park by Churchill Downs Inc. to the Bay Meadows Land Co. should Hollywood be shuttered in 2009?

And so racing in California is now the favorite to finish a bad second to shareholder value. But what can you expect when a publicly owned horseracing company must value dividends over their primary responsibility, the horse racing business?

So why shouldnt the fate of Hollywood Park be different from the uncertain future faced by the once great American middle class? Just take a good look around this country: How do you like greed now?