INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Mike Mooney, who joined the Hollywood Park publicity department as notes writer in 1991 and became director of publicity in 1993, retired Friday.
Mooney, 55, first worked in publicity in 1970. He came to Hollywood Park from Chicago to work for Jack Disney. Mooney headed the joint publicity team at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita Park for four years in the 1990s before shifting back to Hollywood Park on a permanent basis prior the 1997 Breeders' Cup.
He worked closely with Laffit Pincay Jr. and Bill Shoemaker as Pincay marched toward Shoe's long-standing record of 8,833 victories. Pincay surpassed the mark on Irish Nip on Dec. 10, 1999. Mooney also worked with the Los Angeles Times to start the Jim Murray Sports Journalism Workshop in 2003, attracting top students from across the country each year.
"Working at Hollywood Park has been the highlight of my career," he said. "I've had great support and a tremendous relationship with members of the media, particularly on the print side. It's a big moment for me. My wife, Pam, and I are retiring on the same day and we're excited about the future."
From a racing family, Mooney began working on the Ontario Jockey Club circuit while in school in 1968. He went from the OJC publicity department to newspapers, working at the Winnipeg Free Press, The Albertan in Calgary and the Vancouver Sun, where he was turf writer and handicapper for seven years.
His grandfather, J.D. Mooney, rode 1924 Kentucky Derby winner Black Gold and trained 1962 Canadian Horse of the Year Crafty Lace.