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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Hawthorne Racecourse (3/7/08)
Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542
An Opening Day Success at Hawthorne
Stickney, IL – Hawthorne Race Course kicked off its 2008 spring meet in grand style, providing the full fields it promised and showing a significant increase in handle and attendance compared to the spring meet of 2007.
With attendance numbers near 2,000 for the opener – producing an on-site handle of $176,010 – the nine-race card with 88 starters outperformed 2007's opener (72 starters) by 21% in total handle as $2,430,287 was wagered on the opener, compared to $2,000,440 in 2007.
"The shift in opening days worked out extremely well for us," stated Hawthorne President Tim Carey. "We closed out our extended fall meet with a very good two weeks in January and picked up right where we left off with a strong opener. The later start has allowed for more horses to be ready to run and it shows in our strong field sizes that we have produced for our entire opening weekend."
The track itself played kind to speed, and even kinder to trainer Roger Brueggemann. He saddled four winners from four starters, including Sole of the City who annihilated a field of eight in the feature race of the day. Apprentice jockey Inez Karlsson was aboard the runaway winner who stopped the clock in 1:09.25 for the six-furlong dash, outdistancing the runner-up by 10 ¼ lengths.
For Brueggemann, his four-win day left notice that trying to dethrone him from his training crown from last spring will be a mighty task for anyone.
“I’m ready to retire,” Brueggemann joked, shortly after winning his fourth race with That’s a Fact. “Truth is, I aim for this meet, my horses stay here for the winter, and I think that gives me somewhat of an advantage.”
Jockey Tim Thornton also had a nice opening afternoon. His win on Cleaning House in the final race of the day was his third winner of the card, leaving Thornton elated to be back at Hawthorne.
“The hard work keeps paying off,” Thornton said. “The track is in great condition, and anytime you win a few races on a card, it’s a really good day.”
Aside from Thornton’s hat trick, jockeys T.D. Houghton and Karlsson each rode two winners, and for those keeping track, Jose Betancourt rode the first winner of the meet, Our Blaze, and was all smiles afterwards.
“I had a dream that I would ride a winner today, and look at that,” Betancourt said. “It was nice to get the meet off to such a good start. I needed that.”
Hawthorne Race Course’s Thoroughbred meet concluded January 13, 2008 and will reopen Friday, March 12, 2008. 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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