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Hawthorne Race Course

Hawthorne Racecourse (10/20/11)

Contact: Ron Uchman
(708) 780-3700


Local horsemen waited with anticipation on Thursday afternoon. They were waiting for a horse van coming in from Florida that contained special cargo. It wasn’t a famous stakes horse. It wasn’t a horse at all. It had 80 legs.

Eighty legs?

Those 80 legs belonged to 20 cats that were taken, rescued really, from Haven Acres Cat Rescue in Gainesville, Florida back in June.

Trainer Christine Janks has been actively involved for the last five months in the rescue and adoption of approximately 700 cats that were taken from that facility. The cats were living in deplorable conditions and were virtually feral.

Various humane organizations pooled their resources to spay, neuter, worm, vaccinate, and medicate every cat. Adoption fairs have been held and almost all the cats have been placed.

Trainers from Hawthorne stepped up to the plate and adopted 20 of these cats. Some were destined to be barn cats; some would be taken home. Barn cats, by the way, have a terrific life at the racetrack. They are well taken care of and they have the freedom to interact with people, horses, other animals, and they have warm offices to live in. They are generally pretty spoiled. Plus, they help control other little furry critters. They travel from track to track with their stables.

One expectant owner, Jan Ely, was waiting in the press box for the newest members of her family. Her new house cat, Moe, is a carrier of feline leukemia so he can’t be around other cats. She’s also adopting another for the barn.

Looked at the list of trainers and other track personnel adopting and it is impressive. These people work seven days a week, 365 a year, taking care of their horses and they are still able to make room in their lives to help another.

Hero is probably one of the most overused words in the English language and some would question its use here but, in this case, it just might fit.

Hawthorne Race Course opens for live racing on Saturday, October 1 and races live through Saturday December 31. Live racing will be conducted five days a week, racing Wednesday-Sunday. Live racing will also take place on Monday, December 26. First post daily is 1:35 pm. On Fridays through November 25, first post will be 3:00 pm. Hawthorne Race Course is located in Stickney IL at 3501 S. Laramie Ave. For information on live racing or groups at Hawthorne Race Course, contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700 or visit Hawthorne online at

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