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Hawthorne Race Course
|Hawthorne Racecourse (12/13/07)
Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542
Hawthorne’s 2008 Stakes Program Features Grade II Gold Cup
Hawthorne Race Course announced its 2008 stakes schedule after final approval from the Illinois Racing Board. Both the Spring and Fall meets are included.
The spring season, which commences on Friday, March 7, will as usual be highlighted by the $500,000 Grade II Illinois Derby to be contested on Saturday, April 5.
2007 Illinois Derby winner Cowtown Cat went on to compete in this year’s Kentucky Derby, and in many prior years, the Illinois Derby has been a significant prep to the Run for the Roses.
In 2001, War Emblem won the Illinois Derby and then proceeded to capture both the Derby and Preakness in his next starts. 2006 Illinois Derby Winner Sweetnorthernsaint was the Kentucky Derby post time favorite in his next start, but finished seventh.
One significant change in the spring stakes schedule is in the form of a name change.
On April 19, the inaugural $200,000 Grade III Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap will be the new name of the race formerly known as the National Jockey Club Handicap. The race is in memory of the five-time Kentucky Derby winner who passed away last month. The race is for colts and geldings three-years old and up.
The Grade III $200,000 Sixty Sails for fillies and mares three-years old and up will also be run on April 19. 2007 winner, Kettleoneup, later went to Churchill Downs and captured the Grade II Falls City Handicap.
The Illinois Breds will continue to have their day in the sun as well, when Illinois Champions Day returns on Saturday April 26. Six $100,000 stakes restricted to state-bred Thoroughbreds will highlight the card.
In all, $1,575,000 in stakes purses will be offered in the spring, which includes the $75,000 Jim M. Levitch Illinois Owners Handicap, set for its initial run on Illinois Derby Day.
Hawthorne Spring 2008 Stakes Schedule
When the fall meet begins on Friday, September 26, Hawthorne will be poised for the $500,000 Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup, which will take place the next day, Saturday, September 27.
The prestigious event for equines three-years-old and up has attracted some of the finest horses in recent years, including this year’s winner, Student Council. Following his powerful Gold Cup win, Student Council ventured overseas and competed in the $2.3 million Japan Dirt Cup. A.P. Arrow, who finished third to Student Council, promptly went to Churchill Downs and won the Grade II Clark Handicap.
The Hawthorne Gold Cup, in its own right an important race, has consistently been used as a stepping stone to the Breeders’ Cup and other significant autumn races.
“We’ll continue to keep the Gold Cup in the national spotlight by providing a lucrative purse and a timeframe that will allow this race to always be an ideal prep for the Breeders’ Cup,” said President and General Manager Tim Carey. “The race has already establishing a pretty good history and I look forward to its continued success.”
Two other stakes races will continue to be a part of Hawthorne Gold Cup day, both of them on grass.
The $100,000 Indian Maid Handicap for fillies and mares three-years-old and up and the Grade III Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap will be co-features on the undercard.
Turf sensation and recent winner of the $2 million Canadian International, Cloudy’s Knight, competed in the Robert F. Carey in 2006.
Other stakes for the fall session include the $250,000 Grade III Hawthorne Derby for three-year-old grass specialists. This year’s victor was Bold Hawk, a well-bred runner with a bright future. The race is scheduled for Saturday, October 11.
The Phil Georgeff Festival of Racing will return on Saturday, November 1, and will give Illinois-bred Thoroughbreds another opportunity for black type, with six $100,000 races.
Two-year-old Illinois breds will get a chance to stretch their young legs beyond a sprint in the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante and the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity, for the girls and boys respectively.
The $75,000 Mary D. Keim Illinois Owners Stakes will be a new addition to the fall program and will be run on Hawthorne Derby Day.
Hawthorne Fall 2008 Stakes Schedule
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 1:35 pm 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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