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Hawthorne Racecourse (1/2/06)

Contact: Jim Miller
(708) 780-3700

Large Fields, Strong Signal Fuel Hawthorne Fall Meet

STICKNEY, IL – Fueled by an increase in purses to begin the meet and the fullest fields in Illinois, Hawthorne posted an increase in total handle on the live races for the 2005 fall Thoroughbred meet.

Average starters per race for the fall meet was 9.01, spurring a boost in total handle on the meet of 10.79% as an average of $3,103,147 was wagered on Hawthorne’s live races per day, up from the $2,800,840 average from 2004. Out of state handle was the biggest boost, up 16.39% with an average of $2,549,257 wagered daily on Hawthorne’s races, up from the $2,190,266 wagered per card in 2004. On-site handle slipped a bit though as the average of $179,414 wagered this fall was down from the $199,250 wagered on-site at Hawthorne in 2004.

Jockey Chris Emigh captured his fourth Hawthorne riding title but didn’t break loose from Shane Laviolette until Emigh posted a five win day on the second to last day of the card. Emigh led with 66 winners. Past riding champ Shane Laviolette made a furious rush at Emigh late, posting 10 wins in a three-day period with two weeks to go, but he fell just short with 61 wins. Despite an injury at the start of the meet, which sidelined him for two weeks, Jesse Campbell had a fine meet as he finished third with 52 wins.

Trainer Wayne Catalano was back atop the standings, as he followed an excellent summer at Arlington Park with a Hawthorne title, saddling 35 winners on the meet. This spring’s leading trainer, Tom Tomillo, had another fine meet, sending out 29 winners while Mike Reavis closed with a strong December to finish third in the standings with 26 wins.

Owner Frank Calabrese won his sixth consecutive owner’s title as his runners won at an amazing 35% rate, with 35 wins from 101 starters. 2 Blondes, Inc. finished second in the owner standings with 12 wins while Orion Stables was third with 11 wins.

On the track, the Hawthorne stakes program again saw many top-notch runners take to the track. On opening weekend, the top older Handicap horses in the nation competed at Hawthorne in the Grade 2, $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup with Super Frolic upseting Perfect Drift in the slop. Both runners went onto the Breeders’ Cup Classic with Super Frolic running third and Perfect Drift finishing fourth in that race. Top three-year-old Gun Salute battled to a victory in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby on October 15 before going on to run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Illinois-bred stars were featured in the Illinois Festival of Racing on November 12. While two-year-old Last Gran Standing emerged from the day still undefeated, many upsets occurred as local favorite Wiggins was the only one to survive with a victory in the High Alexander Handicap. Hawthorne was also the training home to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies third-place finisher Original Spin as she prepared for her race. She showed she is one of the top Illinois-breds.

This spring, Hawthorne will be open daily for full-card simulcasting, leading into the spring meet which begins on February 24. Live racing will be conducted daily in the spring from February 24 through May 4, racing every Friday through Tuesday.




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