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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (3/30/10)

Contact: Kendahl Damico
(773) 447-0908


$500,000 Illinois Derby Showcases 2 Days of Parties, Sports Entertainment and Big Money

Stickney, IL (April 3, 2010) — The road to the Kentucky Derby continues to run through Chicago, as Hawthorne Race Course again prepares to host the only area prep race for the world’s most famous race. On Saturday, April 3, Hawthorne will hold the 53rd running of the $500,000 Grade III Illinois Derby, which has produced 13 starters for the Kentucky Derby in the last eight years. To celebrate, Hawthorne is hosting a full day of pre-party festivities, live radio broadcasts and live racing on Good Friday, April 2.

“The Illinois Derby has proven time and again to be one of the top final races for horses prepping for the Kentucky Derby,” said Jim Miller, Director of Racing for Hawthorne. “For their final prep, many top-tier trainers are looking for real dirt tracks to test their horses. In that we also have the seconnd longest homestretch in the country, Hawthorne is a vital proving ground for the Derby.” The last eight Illinois Derby winners have all gone on to run in the Kentucky Derby, which means a visit to Hawthorne on April 3 is a safe bet to see one of this year’s Kentucky Derby horses live.

To kick-off the weekend, Hawthorne’s fans will experience a holiday weekend full of giveaways, barbeque and beer specials, and pre-parties hosted by both 97.9 The LOOP and ESPN 1000.

Beginning Friday morning at 10:30 am, the first 500 guests through the gates will receive a commemorative Illinois Derby T-shirt. Then at 1 pm in Hawthorne’s luxury third floor Turf Club, ESPN’s “Afternoon Saloon” will host an Illinois Derby pre-party featuring a three-hour buffet and house bar for just $30, and live broadcast from 2-6 pm. Saloon co-hosts John Jurkovic and Harry Teinowitz are scheduled to also call a live race as celebrity guests. Tickets for the Turf Club party are available at or by calling (708) 780-3733.

At 2 pm, The LOOP is hosting its Third Annual Rock Girl Contender Competition featuring 32 gorgeous girls vying for votes to be the 2010 Rock Girl. The Grandstand party features a live remote from 3-7 pm with Eddie Webb. Plus $2 admission and $2 Bud Light drafts.

Though Saturday’s highlight is the Illinois Derby, the only Illinois prep race for the Kentucky Derby, the card will also feature the debut of the $50,000 Cryptoclearance Stakes, named for the one-time Kentucky Derby contender and two-time Hawthorne Gold Cup winner and Hall of Famer owned locally by Phil Teinowitz, father of ESPN 1000 co-host Harry Teinowitz, who will present the winner’s trophy on Saturday.

“I grew up in horseracing and I’m probably the sport’s biggest proponent in Chicago media, so on a personal and professional level this is going to be a really exciting experience,” said Harry Teinowitz. “Cryptoclearance was a fantastic horse, a two-time winner of Hawthorne’s signature fall race, The Gold Cup. In fact, he still holds the record for the two longest come-from-behind victories in that race. If we can get a thrilling win like that in this race it would be just perfect.”

Throughout the weekend and through April 17, fans will also have a shot at winning the Road to the Derby Sweepstakes for a 2010 Dodge Dakota and VIP trip for four to the Kentucky Derby. Text “DERBY” to 87415 or visit Guest Services for details.

“Our spring Thoroughbred meet is really our time to engage new fans in racing,” said Tim Carey, President of Hawthorne Race Course. “There’s so much excitement building up to the Kentucky Derby, people have cabin fever and are just ready to get out and have a little fun again. If you’ve never been to Hawthorne, Illinois Derby weekend is the best time to come out and see what all the excitement is about.”

For additional information about the Illinois Derby, please visit or call Guest Services at 708-780-7050.

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