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Hawthorne Racecourse (2/18/06)

Contact: Jim Miller
(708) 780-3700

Hawthorne to Offer $1.8 Million Stakes Program for Spring Meet

STICKNEY, IL – Hawthorne Race Course kicks off its annual spring Thoroughbred meet on Friday, February 24, and has released a $1.8 million 2006 spring stakes schedule. The 49th running of the Grade II, Illinois Derby, to be run on Saturday, April 8, highlights this year’s lucrative stakes schedule.

The $500,000 Grade 2, Illinois Derby has become a featured stop on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. In 2002, the Illinois Derby produced Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem. Recent Illinois Derby winners Greeley’s Galaxy, Pollard's Vision, and Ten Most Wanted have all gone on to running in the Kentucky Derby following their Illinois Derby triumphs.

In addition to the Illinois Derby, Hawthorne Race Course will also feature the running of two $100,000 6-furlong sprints, the Meafara Breeders’ Cup Stakes for 3 year old fillies and the Lost Code Breeders’ Cup Stakes for 3-year old colts and geldings. Raising the stakes even further, the Illinois Derby will also be nationally televised on ABC and will be included as part of the nationwide Magna Pick 5.

Two weeks after the Illinois Derby, the $250,000 Grade 3 National Jockey Club Handicap for 3 year olds and up will be contested at 1 1/8 miles on Saturday, April 22. Past Illinois Derby winners have come back to Hawthorne to post victories in the National Jockey Club Handicap as Ten Most Wanted won the race in 2004 and Pollard’s Vision bested Badge of Silver in the 2005 edition of the race.

Fillies and mares will also have their chance to score a big payday on the same day in the $250,000 Grade III Sixty Sails Handicap. This race will also be run at a distance of 1 1/18 miles. Isola Piu Bella captured the 2005 edition under jockey John Velazquez.

On Saturday, April 29, Illinois Champions Day will showcase the best Illinois Thoroughbred racing has to offer. Six featured stake races offering a purse of $100,000 added each will highlight the Illinois breeding program and Hawthorne Race Course’s finest state born residents.

National Jockey Club’s General Manager Ed Duffy is pleased with the attention the stakes schedule has received in recent years. “The horseman both nationally and locally have been extremely supportive of our stakes program and we expect the trend to continue. We are looking forward to an exciting spring meet and 2006 season here at Hawthorne,” stated Duffy. National Jockey Club conducts their racing meet at Hawthorne Race Course.

Hawthorne Race Course begins the spring Thoroughbred meet on Friday, February 24 and races through May 4. Live racing takes place every Friday – Tuesday, excluding the Easter Holiday on Sunday, April 16. First post daily is at 1:10 PM.

A complete stakes schedule for Hawthorne’s spring meet and nomination information can be viewed at in the Live Racing and Horsemen sections or by contacting Hawthorne’s racing office at 708-780-3700.




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