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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (4/26/07)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542

A Few Moments with Christine Janks

When Hawthorne hosts Illinois Champion’s Day this Saturday April 28, the usual owners, breeders and trainers of Illinois-bred Thoroughbreds will take their best shot at six $100,000 races that are restricted to horses that were either bred or foaled in the state of Illinois.

Perhaps nobody exemplifies greater participation in the Illinois breeding program or the propagation of Illinois-bred racing than native daughter and leading conditioner Christine Janks. Armed and loaded for Saturday’s races, Janks took a few minutes to comment on her stakes day horses and the Illinois breeding industry.

“I’ve done pretty well in the past (Illinois bred stakes days). We’ve won two stakes on the same card twice. Sure would be nice to get three. It would be a big coup to win three in one day,” Janks said. Despite an uncharacteristically difficult Hawthorne meet, Janks can spin some yarn into gold with a big Saturday and she thinks maybe she has the guns to make it happen. “We have some nice horses we’re running. I’m expecting some good efforts.” Janks has runners in four of the six events. Here are the entrants with some comments and expectations straight from the trainer’s mouth:

High Expectations - Chicagoland Handicap: “With this horse the race has to set up, but he’s doing very well and I think he has a good chance to be there.”

My Lydonia - Peach of It Handicap: “If it’s wet Saturday she’ll go. She handles that kind of track well. If the track comes up dry and loose, we may wait for another spot.”

Stop A Train - Peach of It Handicap: “Been training real well and I think she can be even better this year. (Last year Stop A Train was 5-4-1 from 10 starts and compiled earnings of $206,540.) She came up sick after her last start. We expected a much better effort. I think she has a big shot here.”

Pretty Jenny - Governor’s Lady Handicap: “This filly is rock solid. She’s doing as well as she can be doing.”

Chillain Villain - Land of Lincoln Stakes: “ I think this is a really nice horse. He was sick awhile though, and may not be one hundred percent, but I think he’ll perform well.”

When the spring meet started, Janks had expected to win a few more races than she has, but as Janks explained it, maybe it was just one of those meets. “A lot of my horses missed training due to illness. I thought we would have quite a few break their maidens here, but it has been a meet of zigging and zagging. If we zigged, they zagged.”

As for the state of Illinois racing, and more specifically the Illinois breeding industry, Janks has many ideas that might proliferate the quality of Illinois bred racing. One idea is for the mares to take center stage. “I don’t think we are ever going to be able to support the big time stallion here, but we need to get better quality mares that will foal here. We can do that by encouraging a breeders’ reward program that pays not just for an Illinois bred winning an open allowance race, but one that will also reward breeders with a smaller percentage for finishing in the money. Right now those breeders get nothing for finishing second.”

As an Illinois trainer/owner/breeder, Janks has a vested interest in Illinois racing, with four of the five Janks stake entrants on the Illinois Champion’s Day card either co-owned or co-bred by her Carson Springs Farm. Illinois bred horses are indeed the stars of the show on Saturday and should offer a glimpse into the future of the local breeding program.

Hawthorne Race Course races five days a week, Thursday through Monday through April 29. Located at Cicero or Laramie Avenues at 35th Street, gates open daily at 7 am. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at




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