Hawthorne Racecourse (2/10/10)
Contact: Ron Uchman
Full Fields Kick off Opening of Hawthorne Spring Meet
STICKNEY, IL – The first two draws for the spring Thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne Race Course filled very well and is an encouraging sign of things to come in 2010. Friday’s spring opener drew 99 horses in the body of the 10-race card, along with eight additional horses on the also-eligible list. For Saturday, the 10-race card drew 91 entrants with three additional on the also-eligible list.
Racing kicks off on Friday with a first post of 1:35 pm as the extended spring schedule looks to provide exciting action. In February, live racing will take place on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. In March, Tuesdays will be added. Beginning March 28, racing on Sundays will take place, excluding Easter Sunday, April 4.
“The racing schedule for 2010 should provide us with much fuller fields and will provide our horsemen with more racing opportunities,” said Assistant General Manager Jim Miller. “Many more horses have remained in training this winter due to the dark period being shortened by two weeks and I am encouraged to see we have retained 200-300 more horses in training from last year. With more horses ready, and hopefully better weather than what we saw last year, I am expecting a very strong meet in regards to field size and handle.”
This spring, Hawthorne will race 44 days, running from February 12 – April 25. Stakes action kicks off on Saturday, April 3, with the running of the Grade III $500,000 Illinois Derby. The last eight Illinois Derby winners have gone on to run in the Kentucky Derby (Gr. I). Last year’s Illinois Derby champ, Musket Man, went on to finish third in both the Derby and the Preakness Stakes (Gr. I).
On April 17, the Grade III $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap will be run. The following weekend, top state-bred runners will be featured in six $100,000 stakes races for the Illinois Festival of Racing.
The last two meet champions return to the jock’s room this spring as Tim Thornton and Tanner Riggs lead a strong riding colony. Eddie Razo, Jr. returns to the saddle this spring after sustaining an injury last fall and Ramsey Zimmerman comes back to Chicago after a few years away from the circuit. New faces to the room last fall look to continue to make their mark on the scene as Angel Stanley, Inosencio Diego and Derek Bell are back. Also, the 2010 meet kicks off with three youngsters in the room as three, seven-pound apprentice riders, Anthony Groth, Francisco Giles, and Nestor Maldonado look to make an impact at Hawthorne.
On the training end, Frank Kirby looks for a repeat title after sweeping both meets in 2009. Roger Brueggemann comes fully loaded for the spring, along with Mike Reavis, Hugh Robertson, and Joel Berndt. Trainer Wayne Catalano will have a string of 35 horses and Ray Tracy returns to Chicago with 35 runners stabled at Hawthorne as well.
Hawthorne Race Course begins racing on Friday, February 12 and runs through Sunday, April 25. First post time daily is 1:35 pm. For racing schedule and details on promotions and parties at Hawthorne, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com.