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Hawthorne Racecourse (6/22/06)

Contact: DAK Productions
(708) 222-4540

Hawthorne Meets Challenges; Looks Forward to 2007

Hawthorne Race Course concluded its 2006 harness meet on Saturday, June 17, and management was satisfied on all accounts.

"This meet met all of our expectations,” said Hawthorne’s assistant general manager Jim Miller. “Our track crew did an excellent job converting the track from a Thoroughbred to harness surface in the limited time allowed, and the conditions remained optimum all season.”

“Despite challenges within the industry, and with only 200 horses stabled on our grounds, the racing office did an excellent job filling the cards,” Miller continued. “We didn’t have time to build much momentum, but our signal proved strong across the board, with bettors both locally and nationally responding positively to our product. We look forward to 2007 with the hopes of more live racing dates, and another fine meet."

In 2006, Hawthorne raced six days per week (Monday dark) from May 6 through June 17 (37 days). Handle comparisons to 2005 were difficult to achieve. Last year, Hawthorne raced four days per week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday) from June 5 through August 26 (48 days). Balmoral and Maywood picked up the other three days.

The mid to late summer days are considered to be the most favorable within the industry.

Hawthorne’s average starters per race in 2006 was 8.7, the same as in 2005.

The following comparisons were made for like days raced in 2006 versus 2005 at Hawthorne, Balmoral and Maywood.

When comparing like days, regardless of how many races were run each night, here’s how the numbers shake out.

  • Live avg. total nightly 2006 - $1,122,115, up 0.98% from the $1,111,214 in 2005.
  • On-site live 2006 - $98,000, up 5.82% from $92,612 in 2005.
  • In-State live 2006 - $252,765, down 3.80% from $262,751 in 2005.
  • Out of state on live - $771,350 in 2006, up 2.05% from $775,851 in 2005.

Hawthorne has also put together pro-rated numbers, removing the Monday dark day, that compare average handle per individual race run during the like time period at all three tracks.

  • Total on live - 2006 - $1,122,115, up 10.62% from $1,014,401 in 2005.
  • On-site live - 2006 - $98,000, up 15.80% from 2005.
  • Instate on live - 2006 - $252,765, up 5.35% from 2005.
  • Out of state on live - 2006 - $771,250, up 11.82% from 2005.

On the racetrack, 10-1 shot Cheyenne Hollywood and partner Brent Holland upset defending champ, He Wants It All in the $96,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial Pace for trainer Julie Miller, and Dunkster, who was taking his fourth crack at the event, upset 2005 winner Muscles Marinara in the $105,000 Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Trot for driver/trainer Kurt Sugg. Both stakes were contested on closing night, June 17.

For the first time in history, a series of Grand Circuit Stakes were raced at Hawthorne, and the star among stars was the Ervin Miller trained 3-year-old pacer Devilfish. The 3-year-old altered son of Cam’s Card Shark opened his career at Hawthorne on June 7, winning by eight increasing lengths in 1:51.2. He then returned on June 17 in the World Series Grand Circuit event to score an astonishing 14-length victory in 1:50.1 in hand to Dave Magee, setting a new track record for 3 year-old pacers in the process.

Hawthorne’s second annual Night of Champions was presented on June 3 with much fanfare. Seven $50,000 (est.) stakes for Illinois-breds were on the docket, and Hall of Famer Dave Magee won four of the six events, including the Loyal Opposition Stakes with the horse for whom the race was named. With the victory, the Ervin Miller-trained pacing mare Loyal Opposition boosted her career bankroll over $2.7 million as the richest Illlinois-bred of all time.

Dave Magee outlasted Tim Tetrick (57-51) to win the driver’s title, and Paul Stafford (17 wins) edged Ervin Miller (15), Roger Welch (14) and Homer Hochstetler (14) to grab the trainer’s crown.

Hawthorne’s fall 2006 Thoroughbred meet runs September 15 through December 31 with live racing five days per week: Wednesday through Sunday. Post time is 1:10 p.m.

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Standardbred meet ran May 6 through June 17 with live racing six days per week – Tuesday through Sunday. Post time is 7:20 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Hawthorne’s spring 2006 Thoroughbred meet ran February 24 through May 2.

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