R.D. Hubbard, former part owner of Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos Race Course, dies at 84

On June 10, 1995, R.D. Hubbard, then-chairman of Hollywood Park, speaks to reporters about negotiations with the Raiders for an NFL stadium.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Randall Dee Hubbard, who once owned part of Hollywood Park and Los Alamitos Race Course, died on Wednesday at his home in Palm Desert. No cause of death was given. He was 84.

R.D. Hubbard became a household name in 1990 when he started to orchestrate a hostile takeover of Hollywood Park from Marje Everett. Hubbard, who owned 9.9% of the stock, staged a proxy fight that eventually gave him control of the track in February of the next year. Given his nature as a larger-than-life cowboy, one of his first acts was to overturn the long-standing rule that coats and ties had to be worn in the Turf Club.

In 1995, he thought he had a deal with Al Davis to turn Hollywood Park’s cavernous parking lot into a stadium that would be the home of the Los Angeles Raiders, only to have his handshake agreement fall through after everyone had gathered for a news conference to announce the deal. In 1999, Hollywood Park was sold to Churchill Downs Inc.

Hubbard made his money in the glass business. He started as a salesman and nine years later was president of Safelite Auto Glass. He later formed his own glass manufacturing company, AFG Industries, which grew to be the second largest in the country.

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In 1969, he became interested in quarter horses and became a leading owner. He later branched out to thoroughbreds. In 1988, he bought into Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico along with his partner, Dr. Ed Allred. Later they shared ownership of Los Alamitos, which Allred now owns.

Hubbard also built a combination thoroughbred and greyhound racing complex called the Woodlands in his native Kansas.

“With the passing of R.D. Hubbard, we have lost a visionary leader who rose from humble beginnings to become a highly successful businessman, philanthropist and sportsman,” said Alex Waldrop, chief executive of the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn. “He was a passionate and successful participant in horse racing at all levels: breeder, horse owner, racetrack owner and operator, handicapper and fan.”

Even in retirement, Hubbard became chairman and managing director of the Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert.

Hubbard is survived by his wife, Joan Dale, and three children. Services are pending.