By Earl Heath, Contributing Writer
R.D.Hubbard was not only a great business man he had a way of making people around him feel good. The entrepreneur passed away last week at the age of 84. Hubbard died at his Palm Desert home with his wife Joan Dale at his side. This was according to his grandson Shaun Hubbard. The younger Hubbard told The Associated Press he had been in declining health.
“He lived 262 years’ worth in 84,” Shaun Hubbard said. “I promise you nobody worked harder and played harder than that man.
Hubbard, then 23, began his career as a glass salesman at Safelite in his home state of Kansas. He later became the President of Safelite.
While there Hubbard helped his employer find a horse for his daughter, and afterwards the two men partnered on sending three young quarter horses to a show trainer. With the profit made from selling the horses Hubbard co-founded the Red Bee Ranch in Wichita, Kansas.
In 1988, Hubbard bought Ruidoso Downs Race-Track, in New Mexico his first racetrack. Though the track had fallen into disrepair, within a year Hubbard and a business partner invested several million dollars into improving the track.
By the late 1980s, Hollywood Park racetrack, was frequented by celebrities- However it was near the point of bankruptcy. Hubbard saw this as in opportunity he purchased control the facility. purchased a portion of the company’s stock in late 1990’s. In April 1991 Hubbard became CEO of Hollywood Park.
He spent $20 million was spent improving the racetrack-That led the park to earning its first profit in five years, and despite rioting in nearby Los Angeles in 1992, annual profits that year increased to $5.4 million. He provided jobs at the park and later at the casino. Inglewood began to thrive.
“I remember every day he’d walk the whole grandstand and check it, and it kind of helped everyone feel like they were part of it,” said Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, who trained for Hubbard. “He liked to make money, but he liked everyone else to make money, too.”
Hollywood Park would undergo a $100 million expansion that opened in the summer of 1994.
In 1995, Hubbard was involved in a deal with the Raiders and the NFL to bring a football stadium to Inglewood that would have combined with the racetrack as part of an entertainment complex. The deal fell through when Raiders owner Al Davis refused to add a second team at the stadium. Today, the track’s former site has been turned into SoFi Stadium, where the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams will play when it opens later this year.
He was named CEO of the Year by Financial World Magazine in 1997, and at one point in the 1990s his net personal worth was estimated at $100 million.
He and his wife formed the R.D. and Joan Dale Hubbard Foundation in 1986, which works to “provide improved educational opportunities for students of all ages.” They started with local scholarships in our hometown [in Kansas]; and when they grew they expanded the program to New Mexico and California.
You always had fun in the Director’s Room no matter where you came from he made you feel warm and welcome.