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Hawthorne Race Course
|Hawthorne Racecourse (6/22/07)
Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542
CKG Billings Driving Series Comes to Hawthorne
The second race on Sunday, June 24 will feature the traveling amateur driving show known as the CKG Billings Amateur Driving Series. Since 1981, when the late, great ambassador of harness racing, Delvin G. Miller founded the Billings Series, drivers with a multitude of backgrounds have chased the starting gate, all in search of the first-hand thrills of driving and racing trotters.
The format of the Billings series awards points to the drivers according to where they finish in the race. The better the finish, the more points registered. From early May to late November, more than 90 licensed amateurs will compete in either the east coast or Midwest circuits, respectively, all vying for an opportunity to race in the finals, December 8 at The Meadowlands.
Sunday’s $5,000 Billing’s race features current Midwest points leader, “Congenial” Gene Miller. Miller will guide the only mare entered in the six-horse field, the 8-year-old Rompaway Ulaine. In her last start, a Billings race at Balmoral, “Ulaine” made up a ton of ground late to get third, but Miller thinks she can do better. “We got buried pretty good last week, but she came home nice when we found daylight,” Miller said.
The main competition to Rompaway Ulaine figures to come from All Sundon N and driver Dale “The Big Boss” Zahn. The veteran gelding figures to show the best gate speed, and may be tough to reel in, however Miller explains that this event is not always about the best horse. “My mare has no shot to beat All Sundon N, but I’ve got a huge shot to beat Dale,” said the jovial Miller. “But really, we’re not all in this only for the competition, but the camaraderie as well. We come from all over for these races and its nothing but fun.”
One of the most important elements of the Billings Series is the benefit it provides the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in Goshen, New York. The drivers in the Billing’s do not receive compensations they can pocket, as one of the qualifications to compete, but they do donate their five percent driver’s share to The Harness Racing Museum. Peter Gerry, President of the Delvin Miller Amateur Driver’s Association says the museum takes in “between $25,000 and $40,000 a year.” Gerry himself competes in the Billings Series on the east coast and says these events become a part of you. “Racing becomes your daily existence, and to raise the kind of money we raise for the Hall of Fame, makes this event a great success.”
Hawthorne Race Course presents live harness beginning on June 22 and concluding on August 4. During this time only Mondays will be a dark day for our live program. As always, Hawthorne will be open for simulcasting 7 days a week. We are located at 3501 S. Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL, 60804. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at www.hawthorneracecourse.com.
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