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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (12/1/07)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542

“A Dream Comes True”: Female African-American Jockey Scores First Victory

Stickney, IL – For eight races, the feature story at Hawthorne Race Course was the blustery pre-winter conditions that coated the main track and reminded racing folks of weather yet to come.

When the ninth race concluded a cheerier story had been written.

Sylvia Harris was the jockey aboard Wildwood Pegasus when the two crossed the finish line to complete the Saturday card, a notable accomplishment because it was her first lifetime win, and established her as one of only a handful of female African-American jockeys to have won a Thoroughbred race in North America.

“I think I may be the second African-American woman to win a race. Cheryl White did it first and she was my hero after that,” said a very jubilant Harris moments after the race. “I don’t look that good on a horse, but it sure felt great out there.”

The 40-year-old Harris is originally from California, (where White currently serves as a track steward) but has spent the last three years in Chicago. She works mostly as an exercise rider for trainer Charlie Bettis, but gets the occasional afternoon mount.

Harris rode Wildwood Pegasus to a third place finish in his most recent start, but today the two made history as they went wire to wire, never challenged in the six furlong event.

The winner was trained by none other than Charlie Bettis.

“Today is truly a dream come true,” said Harris “It really is a dream come true.”

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 www.hawthorneracecourse.com.

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