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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (2/8/10)

Contact: Kendahl Damico, (773) 447-0908
Bill Bracken, (312) 316-7070


Full Fields, Facility Renovations and Economical Sports Entertainment Entice New and Veteran Fans

Stickney, IL (February 8, 2010) — As “The Year of Hawthorne” officially ends and their 101st year of family ownership begins, this historic venue is well on its way to becoming “The Decade of Hawthorne” thanks to a new generation of fans seeking an irreplaceable form of sports entertainment. Garnering more attention than ever before after a milestone year, Hawthorne is maintaining momentum with no intentions of slowing the pace.

The 136-acre venue continues to boast the signature staples of its storybook past while upgrading to a modernized, high-tech facility fans of every age can appreciate. Whether it’s dining in the lavish confines of the Turf Club and catching a race from the breathtaking views of the terrace tables or listening to live music in the grandstands while watching the big game on a 10-sf HD video wall, Hawthorne has cultivated a seamless blend between history and modernity — and they’ve done it with more than just physical upgrades.

“Creating a comfortable, sophisticated space has remained a priority for us throughout the years, but keeping up with what our customer wants and expects from a premium sports facility is right up there on our list,” said Tim Carey, President of Hawthorne Race Course. “It’s not enough just to say we’ve stuck around and so we must be doing something right. Instead, we want to prove that we know a thing or two and can compete with the big dogs. We work to give every customer walking through our gates a one-of-a-kind experience at a top-notch Chicago attraction.”

With live racing returning to Hawthorne on Friday, February 12 and running until Sunday, April 25, Hawthorne continues to create a schedule aligned with this intention of outshining and outlasting its competitors. From the daily racing connoisseur to the fair-weathered fan looking for that new sports experience, Hawthorne consistently delivers on this “one-of-a kind” mission.

Opening weekend kicks off this season’s unbeatable program of giveaways, promotions and events with Free T-Shirt Friday for the first 500 guests who arrive after 10:30 am, up to $1,000 in instant cash prizes on Sure Thing Saturday, and an Opening Weekend Party situated snuggly in the warmth of the luxurious Turf Club. Guests are invited to watch and wager from this marvelous third-floor setting while indulging on a three-hour buffet and house-bar package for just $25. Guests are encouraged to reserve seating in advance by calling 708-780-3733. Festivities begin at 12:30 pm with post-time at 1:35 pm. Tickets are $35 at the door.

“I’m still impressed by the outpouring of positive feedback we receive from people after spending an afternoon in the Turf Club, not to mention the increase in bookings,” said Lorelei Camp, Director of Group Sales at Hawthorne. “Between the modern renovations and the historical glam of the space, people are finally starting to realize how unique our Turf Club parties and private suites can be. Right now, everyone is pinching pennies, but no one wants to sacrifice sophistication or elegance at their event — we’re able to provide that perfect balance. Quite simply, we offer the best space at the best price.”

Working Wednesdays offers exclusive access to this historical ambiance for companies looking to spend a day away from the office and treat their employees or clients to a change of scenery. By simply texting the word “office” to 87415, groups of up to 15 can enter to win an afternoon of lunching and racing in their own private suite. Offering a unique space for team-building exercises, morale-boosting activities or client entertainment during these recession-ridden times, Hawthorne will have companies rethinking the boardroom for every upcoming meeting.

Returning to the Turf Club will be Hawthorne’s second-ever Ladies’ Day on Saturday, March 6. After a successful debut in December, Ladies’ Day returns to spoil our female racing fans during an afternoon of dining, shopping and pampering. For just $20 per ticket, ladies — and yes, even men — can kick back in the Turf Club, wager on the ponies and do it all in the name of charity. Tickets are $20 in advance by calling 708-780-7050 or $30 at the door.

Throughout these action-packed 44 days of live racing, the availability of contests and events keeps Hawthorne’s momentum building steadily for that prized photo finish: the Illinois and Kentucky Derbies.

As it has done for 100 years, Hawthorne hosts some of racing’s most competitive Thoroughbreds in anticipation of racing’s biggest day on the nation’s biggest racing stage. On Saturday, April 3, Hawthorne is Chicagoland’s only destination to catch live racing of the Illinois Derby where the horses that race will become Kentucky’s contenders one month later.

“It’s no accident that the Illinois Derby continues to be Hawthorne’s most successful racing day of the year,” said Jim Miller, General Manager of Hawthorne Race Course. “For the past eight years, Hawthorne has treated its guests to the first glimpse of the Kentucky Derby winners before the rest of the world, and when it comes to horse racing, it doesn’t get better than that.”

Hawthorne’s success rate at the Kentucky Derby can certainly be tied to its traditional dirt track comparable to that of Churchill Downs, and long homestretch — the second longest in North America. Combined with the infamy of Chicago’s winter weather conditions, Hawthorne’s horses are perhaps the most prepared and well-conditioned Thoroughbreds in the country.

“Though modernizing our facility is important, conventional practices and old habits also carry a significant purpose around here,” Carey said. “Safety is and will continue to be our main focus, not just for spectators, but for the horseman, jockeys and all the staff involved in creating a successful race day. Sure, these jockeys and their horses are some of the best in the world, but without creating the best possible conditions to race, they can’t be expected to deliver their best performances.”

In anticipation of the racing industry’s most exciting time of year, Hawthorne launches its Road to the Derby sweepstakes on April 3, giving guests a chance to win a VIP trip for four to the Kentucky Derby and a 2010 Dodge Dakota by texting “Derby” to 87415 for a chance to win. Visit Guest Services for details.

For additional information about Hawthorne’s upcoming contests, promotions and events, please visit or call Guest Services at 708-780-7050.

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