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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (6/23/08)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542

Curtain Rises on Hawthorne Harness Meet

Stickney, IL – For the next six weeks, 39 evenings to be specific, Chicago harness racing will have one home…Hawthorne Race Course.

With the Summer Solstice just a few days behind us, it’s that time of the year for Hawthorne to showcase the Standardbred equine and the driving talent that steers the four-footed athletes.

Drivers such as Hall of Famer Dave Magee and veteran reinsmen Mike Oosting, Sam Widger, Ryan Anderson and Brent Holland are all expected to participate for the majority of the meet. New faces such as Tyler Buter and Dan Noble should also make an impact and should be followed closely.

Holland returns to defend his first ever driving title from a year ago, an achievement that included winning at least one race for the first 23 days and at least two winners for the first 12. The Ohio native reflected on a sensational 2007 in Cicero.

“Everything kind of clicked in all at once last year at Hawthorne,” said Holland. I had good horses and seemed to be in the right spot at the right time. It was a nice accomplishment, but I think winning several races on consecutive nights might have been most special. I love the city and the atmosphere at Hawthorne so I can’t wait to get started.”

Finishing second to Holland last year in the driver standings was Mike Oosting, who currently has a stranglehold on the Balmoral driving title. However Oosting has yet to garner top honors at Hawthorne and he’ll look to turn the tables in ’08.

“I like the meet at Hawthorne and it’s always nice to have a driving title. It kind of tells people you’re still alive,” Oosting quipped.

Truth is, Oosting may have an excellent chance considering he won’t have as many commitments to Ken Rucker, one of Chicagoland’s top trainers who has taken a sizeable amount of his stable to the east. Paul Stafford has taken over the majority of horses that had been under Rucker’s tutelage.

With over $900,000 in stakes purses, racing will be conducted at a high level throughout the meet, and begins this Saturday with the second annual Chicago and Lady Chicago stakes, for 3-year-olds. Among this year’s nominees for the Chicago stakes is last year’s 2-year-old Illinois-bred champion Mucho Sleazy and Maywood Pace winner King of Kings. The Erv Miller-trained pair of Kelly’ Keepsake and Venusinbluejeans head the list of nominees for the Lady Chicago.

Other stakes highlights during the summer include the $80,000 Erwin F. Dygert Memorial, with the finals slated for July 12; the $80,000 Robert F. Carey Jr. Memorial, with an August 2 final; and of course the Illinois Night of Champions, a cornucopia of 2 and 3-year-old Illinois-breds pacing or trotting for purses in excess of $400,000.

Live racing will be conducted six days a week from Tuesday through Sunday. First post will be 7:20 pm with the exception of Sunday, which begins at 6:30 pm. Qualifying races will likely be held on Wednesday mornings, but check with customer service for further details.

The place pick nine, rolling pick threes, pick fours and ten-cent superfectas are among the wagering options throughout the card.

Pad the wallets and welcome back!

Hawthorne Race Course’s Summer harness meet paces from Tuesday June 24 and continues through August 7. Live racing will be conducted Tuesday through Sunday, first post 7:20 pm, except Sunday, first post 6:30 pm. Thoroughbreds return on September 26, and race until the end of the year. The track is open year-round for simulcast wagering, day and night. Hawthorne Race Course is located at 3501 Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at




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