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Hawthorne Race Course
|Hawthorne Racecourse (1/9/07)
Contact: DAK Productions, Inc.
Hawthorne Announces 2007 Stakes Program
$3.4 million in added-money purses offered during spring and fall Thoroughbred meets
Following Tuesday’s stamp of approval from the Illinois Racing Board, Hawthorne Race Course has announced stakes schedules for both their 2007 Thoroughbred meets.
The spring season at Hawthorne kicks off on Friday, February 23, and $1.6 million in stakes purses will be offered. The schedule is highlighted by the 50th running of the $500,000 Grade II Illinois Derby to be run on Saturday, April 7.
A major prep for 3-year-olds on their road to the Triple Crown, the Illinois Derby has been won by some of the nation’s premier sophomores. In 2001, War Emblem used his Illinois Derby score as a springboard to victories in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Last year’s Illinois Derby winner Sweetnorthernsaint exited the Churchill Downs starting gate four weeks later as the lukewarm Kentucky Derby favorite, only to finish seventh.
Other highlights on Hawthorne’s spring schedule include the $250,000 Grade III National Jockey Club Handicap for males and the $250,000 Grade III Sixty Sails for females, both of which will be run on Saturday, April 21. Last spring the Sixty Sails was won by Eclipse Award finalist Fleet Indian. That Todd Pletcher trainee is the favorite to be named Distaff Champion later this month.
Illinois Champions Day, Hawthorne’s annual spring festival for Illinois-breds, will be held on Saturday, April 28. The event features six $100,000 stakes for the Prairie State set.
The fall campaign at Hawthorne commences on September 17, and $1.8 million in stakes purses will be offered. The centerpiece of the fall meet is the 71st running of the Grade II $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap, to be run on Saturday, September 29.
Strategically placed four weeks in advance of the event, the Gold Cup serves as a perfect stepping stone for Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championship hopefuls. Gold Cup champions Black Tie Affair (1990, won 1991 Classic), Buck’s Boy (1997, won 1998 Turf) and Awesome Again (1998, won 1998 Classic) have all gone on to Breeders’ Cup glory.
The Gold Cup is part of a three-stakes package that also includes a pair of added-money turf events for older horses: the $150,000 Grade III Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap for the boys and the $100,000 Indian Maid Handicap for the girls.
Other highlights on Hawthorne’s fall stakes schedule include the $150,000 Grade III Hawthorne Derby, to be run on Saturday, October 13, and the Phil Georgeff Festival of Racing, featuring six $100,000 stakes for Illinois-breds, on Saturday, November 3. The High Alexander Handicap, run on Georgeff Festival day, has been re-named the “Buck’s Boy” in honor of the richest Illinois-bred of all time.
Hawthorne racing secretary Gary Duch has indicated that he will also offer six $45,000 overnight stakes during both the spring and fall meets.
Hawthorne’s spring 2007 Thoroughbred meet will run February 23 thru April 29 with live racing Thursday through Monday (except April 8 & 9). Dark days will be Tuesday and Wednesday. Daily post time is 1:10 p.m.
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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