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Hawthorne Racecourse (5/12/04)

Contact: Jim Miller
(708) 780-3700

Apprentice Contreras Leads Way in NJC at Hawthorne Spring Meet

STICKNEY, IL -- The 47-day National Jockey Club at Hawthorne Spring Thoroughbred meeting wrapped up on Tuesday with some impressive performances from top runners on the racetrack and top riders in the saddle.

Apprentice rider Cruz Contreras grabbed the lead early in the jockey's race and never looked back as the 23-year-old native of Mexico won his first title for leading rider, guiding home 46 winners for the meet for $832,931 in purses.

Finishing second in the standings was Eusebio Razo, Jr with 36 wins while Chris Emigh, Jesse Campbell and Larry Sterling, Jr. all tied for third with 32 wins apiece. Apprentice riders Timothy Thornton and Liz Morris also had good meets as Thornton posted 27 wins while Morris had 14 in the spring.

On the training end of things, Pat Cuccurullo grabbed his first Hawthorne training title as he saddled 25 winners for the meet from only 80 starters. Tom Tomillo and Frank Kirby tied for second with 19 wins apiece while Richard Hazelton was fourth with 17 and Mike Reavis fifth with 14 wins.

Owner Frank C. Calabrese continued his dominance of the Chicago circuit as he led the way once again for leading owner. The title was Calabrese's third straight title as leading owner for meets run at Hawthorne. His runners won 24 races from 74 starts for $317,728 in earnings. Second in the standings was Ben Barnow with nine wins while Wexler Stables, Inc, Asiel Stable, and Orion Stables, Inc all tied for third with 6 winners.

On the track, some very impressive stakes performances were turned in as some local favorites didn't disappoint and some new stars emerged as well. The first stakes race on the meet was the richest as the Grade 2, $500,000 Illinois Derby once again brought out a very strong field of three-year-olds. Leading the way was one-eyed colt Pollard's Vision as he went on to the victory in the Illinois Derby. Song of the Sword ran a good race to finish second as both runners went on to compete in the Kentucky Derby.

The following weekend, Illinois-bred runners were featured as owner Richard Otto Stables and trainer Anthony Mitchell along with Asiel Stables and trainer Richard Hazelton dominated the day. Otto's pair of strong females, Summer Mis and Julie's Prize were both strong in victory while Asiel Stable's Prairie King and Shandy both turned in wins as well.

On April 17, one of the top three-year-olds in 2003 made his return to Hawthorne as a four-year-old as Ten Most Wanted got back on track with his win in the Grade 3, $250,000 National Jockey Club Handicap for trainer Wally Dollase. Dollase was back the following weekend with heavily-favored Bare Necessities in the Grade 3, $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap, but she was upset in the race by longshot Allspice and jockey Chris Emigh.

Year two of the National Jockey Club at Hawthorne spring meet held up nicely on the numbers end of things as well as mutuel handle ranked almost even for the meet from the strong 2003 season. Total handle on live races for the 2004 spring meet was $111,898,904 for an average of $2,380,828 wagered a day on Hawthorne's live races. That figure was down only 1.61% from 2003's total of $116,151,355 for an average of $2,419,820 wagered per day.

In 2004, Hawthorne Race Course is open year-round for full-card simulcasting. Harness racing returns on July 15 as the Suburban Downs at Hawthorne summer harness meet will run 55 consecutive nights through September 7. Thoroughbreds are back in the fall will the Hawthorne fall meet which races from September 24 -- December 31. For more information about Hawthorne please call 708-780-3700 or connect to us on the web at




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