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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (4/2/11)

Contact: Ron Uchman
(708) 780-3700


The partnership between Hawthorne Race Course and TVG for the Grade III Illinois Derby has allowed for the purse for the race to be increased from $250,000 to $300,000. The additional earnings potential may help top three-year-olds in their quest to qualify for the Kentucky Derby on May 7.

“The TVG Illinois Derby is our marquee race of the spring meet and we want to do everything we can to make it the most competitive race possible while continuing our run on sending winners from our race to the Derby,” stated Assistant General Manager Jim Miller. “TVG has been a great partner with Hawthorne and the additional sponsorship money is best put forth going into the purse of our Grade III event.”

The 54th running of the Grade III Illinois Derby will take place on Saturday, April 9 with entries being taken on Wednesday April 6. The race will be run as the seventh race on the Hawthorne card with a post time of 4:37 Central Time.

The Illinois Derby has long been a steppingstone toward the Kentucky Derby. For years the winners of this storied event have gone on to race in the Run for the Roses. The additional $50,000 could ensure that the streak will continue.

We did have a number of likely runners for the race, or at least as likely as you can get two weeks before a race, but the additional funds could entice the connections of some of the runners that have been on the fence as well as to attract a number of runners who didn’t have this Illinois Derby on their radar.

Some of those considered likely (in alphabetical order):

Horse Owner Trainer
Joe Vann Zayat Stables Todd Pletcher
Lagoon of Diamonds Charles E. Fipke D. Kelly Ackerman
Smarter Than Ever Don L. Benge Clark Hanna
Sour Adele B. Dilschneider Albert M Stall Jr
  Possible starters include:  
Toby’s Corner Dianne D Cotter H. Graham Motion
Watch Me Go Gilbert G. Campbell Kathleen O’Connell

Of course, this is only one possible scenario. With the additional funding, some of the runners needing stakes earnings and wanting to evade the “big boys,” at least for now, could wind up running in this spot.

2011 graded earnings for 3-year-olds

Graded earnings as of March 30 for the top 20 3-year-olds, by earnings, possibly headed to the Kentucky Derby. The starting gate at Churchill Downs only holds 20 horses.

1. Uncle Mo $1,260,000
2. Pants On Fire $623,000
3. J P’s Gusto (r) $541,500
4. Soldat $510,000
5. Comma to the Top (g) $471,000
6. Master of Hounds $441,884
7. Twice the Appeal $400,000
8. Mucho Macho Man $370,000
9. Decisive Moment $301,000
10. Animal Kingdom $285,000
11. Astrology $281,893
12. The Factor $270,000
13. Stay Thirsty $260,000
14. Jaycito $250,000
14. To Honor and Serve $250,000
16. Santiva $240,254
17. Dialed In $240,000
18. Watch Me Go $232,500
19. Premier Pegasus $228,000
20. Nehro $200,000

Hawthorne Race Course is in its 102nd year of racing under Carey family ownership. Hawthorne races Friday and Saturday in February, beginning February 11. In March and April, live racing will take place every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through the end of April. First post daily is 1:30 pm. For more information on racing at Hawthorne, visit our website at

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