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Hawthorne Racecourse (2/22/06)

Contact: Jim Miller
(708) 780-3700


STICKNEY, IL – It’s not officially spring yet (vernal equinox is On March 20) but Hawthorne Racecourse is ready to spring into action. Starting this Friday, February 24, Hawthorne will be offering live Thoroughbred racing five days a week, Fridays through Tuesdays. The lone planned exception to that schedule is April 16, Easter Sunday. We will be dark on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

For the spring meet, Hawthorne will offer a stakes program worth approximately $1.8 million, highlighted by the $500,000 Guaranteed Grade 2 Illinois Derby on April 8. In recent years the Illinois Derby has become one of the nation’s top prep races for runners entered in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and many members of the Illinois Derby fields have gone on to do quite well in Triple Crown races.

War Emblem, the 2002 Illinois Derby winner went on to score a long-priced front running victory in the Kentucky Derby, then captured the Grade 1 Preakness in similar fashion. Unfortunately, he stumbled at the start of the Grade 1 Belmont and never mounted a serious challenged in that third leg of the Triple Crown.

Ten Most Wanted, the 2003 winner of the Illinois Derby, finished a fast-closing second in the Belmont that year then took the Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga in August of that summer. He returned to Illinois the following year to compete in the Grade 3 $250,000 National Jockey Club Handicap and went home victorious.

2004 Illinois Derby winner, Pollard’s Vision, made another visit to Hawthorne for the 2005 National Jockey Club Handicap and was able to beat out heavily-favored Badge of Silver in that race.

This year the Illinois Derby will be included in the Magna Pick 5 and televised on ABC.

The Grade 3 National Jockey Club Handicap for runners three and up, with a purse of $250,000 Guaranteed, will be run on April 22. The race will be contested at nine furlongs. Not to be outdone, the ladies will have their own mile and an eighth race on April 22. The nationally-prominent Grade 3 Sixty Sails Handicap, for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up, also carries a purse of $250,000 and usually attracts many of the elite distaff runners in the country.

We are proud of our Illinois breds and on April 29 we will honor them in the best possible way: with money. Six races, each carrying a purse of $100,000, will be contested. These races are restricted to runners registered, conceived and/or foaled in Illinois. They will cover different distances, both sexes, and runners 3-years-old and up.

The complete spring stakes schedule follows:

Date Race Conditions/Distance Purse
April 8 Illinois Derby (Grade 2) 3yo – 1/18 Miles $500,000 G
April 8 Meafara Breeders’ Cup 3yo fillies – 6 furlongs $100,000 A
April 8 Lost Code Breeders’ Cup 3yo – 6 furlongs $100,000 A
April 22 Sixty Sails Handicap (G3) 3 & up, f & m – 1 1/8 Miles $250,000 G
April 22 National Jockey Club H. (G3) 3 &up – 1 1/8 Miles $250,000 G
April 29 Lady Hallie Stakes IL-3yo Fillies – 6 furlongs $100,000 A
April 29 Land of Lincoln Stakes IL-3yo colts & geldings – 6f $100,000 A
April 29 Governor’s Lady Handicap IL-4&up f& m – 6 furlongs $100,000 A
April 29 Chicagoloand Handicap IL-4&up – 6 furlongs $100,000 A
April 29 Peach Of It Handicap IL-3&up f&m – 1 1/16 miles $100,000 A
April 29 Milwaukee Avenue Handicap IL-3&up – 1 1/16 miles $100,000 A

There have been some personnel changes during the off season. On the management side, Tim Carey is now the President of Hawthorne National LLC and the General Manager of both the Suburban Downs and Hawthorne Fall meet. Ed Duffy is the GM of the NJC Meet. Jim Miller is now the Assistant General Manager of all race meets and will handle duties surrounding all race meets. Dennis Taylor is now in charge of both front-side and back-side security and Al Jozwiak is handling main track duties along with Greg Cardenas.

On the racing end of things, we welcome riders A R Toribio and Hector Rosario Jr who will be based here for the first time. They are a welcome addition to our already strong and talented jockey colony.

Most of last year’s top ten riders will be returning to action from day 1, including both Chris Emigh and Shane Laviolette who were caught up in a head-to-head duel for top honors until the final day.

Grant Hofmans, a prominent Kentucky trainer, will have a string of runners stabled here for the first time and promises to ship more up as the meet progresses.

This promises to be our best meet yet. We drew 99 runners for the strong opening day card. First post is 1:10 pm. Come early and stay late.

For more information visit Hawthorne at or call 708-780-3700.




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