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Baedeker Steps Down at Hollywood Park

Times Staff Writer

Rick Baedeker is leaving as president of Hollywood Park, the land company that bought the track announced Wednesday.

Baedeker, who joined Hollywood Park in 1999, has taken another position with Stockbridge Real Estate Funds, the parent of Bay Meadows Land Co., which completed its purchase of Hollywood Park on Friday in a $257.5-million deal with Churchill Downs Inc.

Jack Liebau, the former Santa Anita executive who has been president of the Bay Meadows track in San Mateo, now also becomes president of Hollywood Park. Eual G. Wyatt Jr., who was Baedeker’s general manager at Hollywood, remains in that capacity and has also been named a vice president.

Martin Panza will continue to run Hollywood’s racing department, with the title of vice president-racing. Mike Ziegler has been named a vice president and assistant general manager at Hollywood. Also coming on board as vice presidents are Dyan Grealish and Bernie Thurman. Tim Barden continues as an assistant general manager.

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Baedeker’s new duties include continuing the efforts by Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park to expand casino gambling at racetracks in California.

“It’s been said that I was a victim of the unfavorable climate for the racing industry while I was at Hollywood, but I don’t see it that way,” Baedeker said. “I think we did a lot of good things while I was in charge.”

Baedeker said among the things he enjoyed most were the celebrations for record-setting jockey Laffit Pincay and the emergence of the American Oaks race in international circles.

Baedeker is among three key executives to leave since Churchill Downs announced the sale of the track. Allen Gutterman, vice president for marketing, recently left, and Wednesday Steve Arnold, Hollywood’s vice president for finance, shifted to Stockbridge Real Estate Funds.

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