Hawthorne Racecourse (4/25/10)
Contact: Ron Uchman
Hawthorne Spring Meet Ends With Positive Numbers
STICKNEY, IL – A change in schedule, nice weather, and fuller fields all led to an increase in overall daily handle for the Hawthorne spring Thoroughbred meet which concluded on Sunday.
Daily Total handle for the spring Thoroughbred meet increased 2.06 percent from $1,990,306 per day in 2009 to $2,031,710 in 2010. This year, the racing schedule changed to shorten the winter dark period, allowing for horsemen to keep horses in training and have more runners ready to run. Field size increased by nearly 100 total starters for the meet as Hawthorne averaged 7.36 starters per race in 2010 compared to 7.10 in 2009.
“I’m pleased to see our increase for the spring meet in handle and field size,” stated Assistant General Manager Jim Miller. “We knew that we might face a slight decrease onsite due to the change in dark days, but we more than made that up with what we picked up out of state. We also had to take into consideration that this is our first spring meet where ADW in Illinois is legal, and that definitely affected our onsite and in-state handle. What we did see is that this schedule works and our horsemen were very happy with it. Looking ahead to next spring, we expect to see further improvement.”
On the racetrack, the fall meet leaders posted repeat performances as jockey Tanner Riggs and trainer Frank Kirby won their respective titles once again. Tanner Riggs was a model of consistency this meet, grabbing the title over Tim Thornton and Inez Karlsson. For the meet, Riggs won 57 races, followed by Thornton and Karlsson who had 42 wins apiece.
Trainer Frank Kirby won his third consecutive training title as his runners won at a 20 percent clip for the meet. Kirby posted 45 wins in the spring meet. Chris Dorris had a breakout meet this spring, finishing second in the standings with 25 winners while Roger Brueggemann finished third with 24 wins.
Frank and Sharon Kirby’s Hondo Ranch, Inc. topped the owner standings as well, winning 15 races this spring. William Stiritz had another fine meet with 10 wins while Chris Dorris finished third with 9 wins as an owner.
On the track, the Grade III Illinois Derby again provided another top Kentucky Derby contender when Eoin Harty’s American Lion wired the field in the big race. In the Grade III Sixty Sails Handicap, Life at Ten was victorious for trainer Todd Pletcher, proving that she is quickly becoming one of the top handicap females in the country.
Illinois Champions Day produced some excellent performances. The winners on the day were Souper Miss, Racing Bran, Nicks, River Bear, Wild Hope, and Big Looie. All look to make their mark in the state this year as each won impressively.
Hawthorne Race Course is in its 101st year of racing under Carey family ownership. Hawthorne is open all summer long for full card simulcasting. Live racing returns October 1. For more information on racing at Hawthorne, visit our website at www.Hawthorneracecourse.com.