Hawthorne Racecourse (3/21/12)
Contact: Jim Miller
Turf in two weeks at Hawthorne
It doesn’t get much better than this in March, today will be the 8th consecutive day of record high temperatures in Chicago and everything has turned green! The main thing that is turning green for us is the turf course as we have added more fertilizer with hope of some well-timed showers in the next few days (not to interfere with racing) so the course will really take off! Two weeks from today, weather permitting, we will be running our first race on the grass of the spring meet. Considering we raced a grand total of zero races on the turf in 2011, it looks like April could be a good month.
Additionally, late nominations for the Grade III $500,000 TVG Illinois Derby will be closing this Saturday. At that point we will have a good idea as to who is pointing for this race. We are expecting a large field for the race which will be televised, along with the $60,000 added Cryptoclearance Stakes, on WGN TV on April 7 as well as TVG. Horses are pointing to the Derby from all across the country and we would love to offer a late Pick 4 on Illinois Derby day that included the two stakes races along with turf action!
Considering the pool we received for the Pick 6 last Sunday, it has been a sign of the strong handle for the spring meet thus far. The $39,000 carryover in the Pick 6 this past Sunday led to a pool of an additional $118,000 for the Sunday wager. On the meet, handle is up over 15 percent and field size has improved too. This is in part due to having additional purse monies available, a mild winter, a great racing surface, and horsemen and players ready for our spring Thoroughbred meet. A strong second half of the season and we hope to push toward a 20 percent increase!
Eighteen days into the racing season and the race for leading rider is very tight. Currently seven riders are within 5 wins of the lead including a three-way tie atop the standings between Constantino Roman, Tim Thornton and Florent Geroux, all with 15 wins apiece. Francisco Torres is only one win behind the top trio, followed by Quincy Hamilton (12), bug boy Alejandro Contreras (11), and Inez Karlsson (10).
Roger Brueggemann looks to extend his lead atop the trainer standings as he has 19 wins through 18 days, but Frank Kirby (12) and Chris Dorris (10) are both having fine meets as well.
The move of Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc. into the Chicago racing scene and into the Illinois-bred program has led them to a very nice start as well. They currently have 11 wins on the meet for a strong showing of $288,545 in earnings. Hondo Ranch of Frank Kirby and Eagle Valley Farm of John Haran are both off to good starts with 4 wins apiece.
A fine card today with a pair of allowance races and minimal changes:
Today’s Early Changes
Main Track – Fast
Scratch #4 – Campo Joti
Scratch #5 - Bullbuck