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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (3/5/08)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542

Full fields for Friday's opener

Stickney, IL – Sure, it’s not quite spring, and since Hawthorne Race Course is located in the heart of Chicago, it may not feel like spring for a few weeks longer. But it definitely feels like high time to get the ball rolling, so-to-speak, and this Friday, March 7, Hawthorne begins the 2008 Spring Meet with an optimism that should accompany all season openers, no matter the sport.

Nine races are carded for day one, and the fields are full. There are 94 horses entered for the first of 38 live racing days, and when you consider that only 74 horses were entered last year for opening day, it signals a nice beginning.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Hawthorne Racing Secretary Gary Duch. “It usually isn’t hard to wrangle up a few horses for the opener, but the quantity might have exceeded my own high expectations.”

The challenge for the early part of the spring meet has always been the fight with the weather, in addition to maintaining healthy field sizes, but Duch and his staff will try to continue beyond day one, and try to provide the best racing possible.

“We’ll stay aggressive and keep working the phones,” Duch said. “My goal is to fill all the races in the condition book, and that means trying to give every owner and trainer an opportunity to run their horses.”

While there are no stakes races slated for the opener, the feature race, the fifth race on the card, shapes up as a pretty competitive sprint. Fillies and Mares will battle for a purse of $32,000 in a six-furlong dash. The main players appear to be the Tom Swearingen-trained morning line favorite, Ice Storm Coming, the speedy Precious Zeal, and Sole of the City, trained by Roger Brueggemann, who was leading trainer for the 2007 spring meet.

Randy Meier leads the list of feel-good stories, as he makes his return after recovering from yet another broken bone, suffered in a spill on November 30. Inez Karlsson also returns following a medical issue, and might very well compete for a jockey title despite her status as an apprentice.

New faces to keep an eye on include jockeys David Bourque and Belen Quinonez, as the start of this meet will feature a crowded jockey colony looking for business.

On the wagering side of things, Hawthorne will once again offer the Place Pick Nine, rolling Pick Threes, early and late Pick Fours, early and late Daily Doubles, and of course the usual assortment of exactas, trifectas and superfectas, as field size permits.

First post is 1:35 pm. Live racing will be conducted on a Thursday though Monday schedule. There will be no live racing on Easter Sunday, March 23.

Hawthorne Race Course’s Spring Thoroughbred meet begins on Friday, March 7 and will continue through Monday, April 28. Live racing will be conducted Thursday through Monday, 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




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