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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (10/31/08)

Contact: Mitch Demick (708) 222-4542


On Saturday, November 1, Hawthorne Race Course will be proud to host a booth for the new Illinois Equine Humane Center (ILEHC). In addition, the first recipient of the ILEHC’s largesse, Esther Egg, will be paraded around the racetrack.

Esther Egg, a 13-year-old gelding, raced as recently as July 30 of this year and won as recently as May of 2007. But, as happens to all of us, while the heart might still be willing, the body doesn’t necessarily cooperate and Esther Egg was retired. In the not-too-distant past, a runner such as Esther Egg, with no apparent value, might have been sent to slaughter. Or, he could have been left to languish under less-than ideal conditions by well-meaning owners that simply didn’t have the necessary resources available. Fortunately, there is now a local group that can try to offer a better alternative.

New Humane Shelter Planned for Illinois Horses

A group of Illinois horse owners and equine advocates announced plans today to soon open the doors of a newly founded humane shelter and adoption center for horses. The Illinois Equine Humane Center, NFP (“ILEHC”) mission is to provide humane treatment and shelter while working as a clearinghouse to seek adoptive homes for all of Illinois’ unwanted equines, regardless of breed. The group also seeks to educate and raise awareness for responsible equine ownership so that fewer horses end up in crisis.

The ILEHC is modeled after the Kentucky Equine Humane Center (“KyEHC”) which was established by Kentucky horse owners, in April of 2007. The KyEHC was founded with the hope of serving as a model for other states who share their deep commitment and desire to protect horses from cruelty and neglect. The ILEHC is proud to be the first state to partner with the Kentucky group and to move the organization a step forward towards realizing their goal to one day see similar equine humane shelters throughout the nation.

With the cost of hay, feed, and fuel nearly doubling in the past few years the need for additional equine shelters is greater now than ever before.

“In times of economic challenge, animals are often the first to suffer,” added equine veterinarian and ILEHC Vice-President, Dr. Lydia Gray. “Illinois has long been known to be a leader in the advocacy for the humane treatment of its animals, and with the establishment of ILEHC we hope to realize a significant reduction in the number of abused and neglected horses throughout the state.”

The ILEHC wishes to extend their services to horse owners involved in the Illinois racing industry and is committed to helping trainers and owners in the transitioning of Illinois race horses into new homes and vocations once their career at the track has ended.

The ILEHC is currently working to raise the necessary funds in order to secure a permanent home for the Center. Fundraising events are being planned and will be announced on our website. In the meantime, for more information on the Illinois Equine Humane Center or how you can help us help Illinois horses, please visit us online at or call 815-476-5257.

P.O. Box 4203 - Rockford, IL 61110 - Tel. (815) 476-5257

Website: - Email:


For more on Esther Egg, please visit the ILEHC’s website at or, better yet, come visit the booth on Saturday.

The ILEHC needs your help. Horses and humans have been indelibly linked throughout recorded history. Please stop by on Saturday to discover how you can assist our historic partners live out the rest of their lives with grace and comfort.

Hawthorne Race Course began its Fall/Winter Thoroughbred meet on Friday, September 26, 2008 and will continue through January 11, 2009. Post time on Fridays through November 28 will be at 2:35 pm central time. Post time on all other cards will be 1:35 pm central time. Dark days will be Mondays and Tuesdays. We are located at 3501 S. Laramie Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804. Call (708) 780-3700 or visit the Web site at




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