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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (9/21/07)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542

Hawthorne Day One Recap

Hawthorne Race Course kicked off their fall meet today in summer-like conditions and on a dirt oval, as jockeys, trainers, owners, and fans returned for a Thoroughbred meet for the first time since April 29.

When the gates sprung open at about 1:37 pm central time, patrons bore witness to a five-furlong dirt race for two-year-old colts and geldings, won in the end by Sam Villardito’s Chief What. The bigger news, however, was the dirt surface. Chief What’s winning trainer, James Divito, who also saddled the runner-up, thinks the surface questions were answered loud and clear.

“Obviously after you win you’re very happy. I had questions going into the race, particularly going from Polytrack to dirt, but they clearly answered it,” said DiVito. “Up until now they had only galloped over the surface.”

Jose Ferrer, the jockey aboard second place finisher, Predestination, also commented on the move back to non-synthetics.

“It’s awesome to be back on dirt, and besides, I like dirt much better anyway. Polytrack is great when it rains, but otherwise, give me dirt.”

The feature race of the day was won by Wertheimer Farm and Charles Heilbronn’s El Indy. Run over the turf course at one mile and one sixteenth, defending fall riding champion, Chris Emigh rode the hedge to a neck victory over a game Class Ack. It was three quarters of a length further back to Joni’s Justice who rounded out the trifecta.

“So far today everything’s perfect,” Emigh said following his victory. “The track is beautiful, the turf looks beautiful, it’s a hot day. . . .it feels like summer.”

Autumn officially begins in Chicagoland bright and early on September 23, but for now, Hawthorne will gladly play host to summer conditions for as long as Mother Nature will allow. Thanks to dirt racing, Mother Nature is very much, again in play.

Hawthorne Race Course’s Thoroughbred meet begins on Friday, September 21 and will continue through the end of the year. Live racing will be conducted Wednesday through Sunday, regular first post 1:35pm central time. Hawthorne Race Course is located at 3501 Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804, gates open daily at 7 am. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at




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