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Horse slaughter in Illinois
Hawthorne Race Course
|Hawthorne Racecourse (1/2/07)
Contact: DAK Productions
Fall Season Concludes, Hawthorne Readies for the Future
Average Field Size Strong; Handle Figures Down
Despite pushing out one of the highest starters per race averages in the country and offering one of the best on-track rewards programs in the industry, Hawthorne’s handle figures declined across the board this fall.
The biggest hit came on-site, where the daily handle average dipped to $148,900 per day, down 11.89% from the fall of 2005.
Hawthorne Handle figures for like days (Fall 2006 versus Fall 2005):
On-Site Live - $148,900 / day - down 11.89%
“I would have liked to have seen better numbers on site,” said Hawthorne president Tim Carey. “This will be an area of focus in ‘07. We need to address the Advance Deposit Wagering (phone and Internet account betting) issue more aggressively moving forward.”
“We can no longer ignore the fact that people sit in our track and wager on our races via their cell phone,” Carey continued. “It has a negative impact on our live handle. We have to be more proactive on this issue. As an incentive to fans who play our live races on track, we offer 4 percent back through our Club Hawthorne program. We want our players to take advantage of what is one of the best on-track rewards initiatives in the country.”
Due to the rainy weather early in the meet, Hawthorne lost three times as many turf races, but overall the average field size was comparable to last fall.
Dirt - 8.36 starters per race
65% of all races had eight or more starters (413 of 637).
“On the racetrack, I thought we put on a great show,” Carey said. “The horsemen, jockeys, and our entire staff all did a fantastic job.”
The continuing decline of Thoroughbred racing in Illinois has been a source of frustration for everyone involved in the industry, but Carey sees a ray of hope for the future.
“There is no doubt that the presence of the riverboats has had a negative impact on our business over the years,” Carey said. “That being said, I am very optimistic for ‘07. I think we are well positioned legislatively. We were supposed to be afforded some form of relief in ‘99, but it never happened. Last spring the Molaro Bill was passed, but it was immediately challenged and is now being held up in court.”
“Other states have passed legislation to help their horse racing industries, and right now we simply can’t offer the purse money that they can,” Carey continued. “Having higher purses equates to better racing and improved handle. The Illinois tracks and the horsemen’s organizations understand how critical it is for us to pursue this need as a cohesive unit. Unless we get some form of relief, the quality of racing in Illinois will continue to diminish. I believe ‘07 will be the year we turn this industry around.”
On the racetrack, Chris Emigh (102 wins) cruised to his fifth consecutive Hawthorne crown and seventh overall, and completed the sweep of all three Chicagoland meets for the first time in his career. Amazingly, Emigh won 273 races in Chicago in 2006, 134 more than his closest pursuer Eddie Razo Jr.
Fall highlights for Emigh include winning three of the six stakes on Phil Georgeff Festival of Racing Day and scoring career victory number 2,500 on Nov. 12, aboard Gumba.
Frank Kirby (43 wins) captured his sixth Hawthorne training title, and second in the last three years. For the year in Chicago, he posted 89 victories, placing him third behind Wayne Catalano (98) and Tom Tomillo (92).
Frank Calabrese swept the Chicago circuit again this year, leading all Hawthorne owners this fall with 30 wins. Locally in 2006, Calabrese won 97 races, 57 more than 2 Blondes, Inc.
Mrs. Capp was the only racehorse to score four victories at Hawthorne this fall. There were four horses that won as many as six races on the Chicago circuit in 2006: Shot the Deputy, Stefie’s Brite, My Calabrese and Conner’s Brittany.
Trainer Rebecca Maker entered Stan Fulton’s It’s No Joke in both the $350,000 Grade II Kentucky Cup Classic and the $500,000 Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup, but it wasn’t until the day before that she decided to send the son of Distorted Humor to Chicago. It was the right call as the 4-year-old colt colt overtook pacesetter Flamethrowintexan turning for home and held off a mild late rally from the favored A. P. Arrow to win the Gold Cup by a length under veteran Chicago jockey Eusebio Razo Jr.
Easy Money 2006 LLC’s No Tolerance took the lead at the start and gamely held off Rapid Proof to win the Grade III $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap by a head. The 5-year-old son of Afternoon Deelites was ridden by Jesse Campbell and trained by the jockey’s father, Mike. He covered the mile over firm turf in 1:35.54.
Bar Three LLC’s Illinois-bred Best of Buddies battled the lead every step of the way from the rail with Eddie Martin Jr. aboard, withstood several challenges in the stretch, and held off the fast closing Crested by a neck to capture the $250,000 Grade III Hawthorne Derby over a turf course rated firm in 1:50.59 for nine furlongs.
Local Thoroughbred racing will now go on hiatus for seven weeks, with a Stickney return date of Friday, February 23. Hawthorne plans on racing Thursday through Monday (dark Tuesday and Wednesday). The 50th running of the $500,000 Grade II Illinois Derby is slated for Saturday, April 7, pending Illinois Racing Board approval. Hawthorne’s daily racing and stakes schedules will be finalized by mid-January.
Hawthorne Final Jockey Standings (Sept. 15, 2006 to Jan. 1, 2007)
Hawthorne Final Trainer Standings (Sept. 15, 2006 to Jan. 1, 2007)
Hawthorne Final Owner Standings (Sept. 15, 2006 to Jan. 1, 2007)
The fall Thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne Race Course ran September 15, 2006 thru January 1 , 2007.
Hawthorne’s spring 2007 Thoroughbred meet will run February 23 thru April 29. The summer 2007 Standardbred meet will be held June 22 thru August 5. The fall 2007 Thoroughbred meet will run September 17 thru December 31.
For more information visit www.hawthorneracecourse.com.
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