Hawthorne Race Course (10/1/13)
Contact: John Walsh, 708-606-5929
Full Fields Expected as Hawthorne Opens Fall Meet
STICKNEY, IL - Anticipation for the Hawthorne fall Thoroughbred meet is high as racing action kicks off this Friday at 3:10 pm. With a full backstretch, turf course in tremendous condition, and real dirt racing, the opening day card looks to be a sign of the season ahead as 85 horses are entered in the nine-race card.
Full fields will be the focus this fall for new Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Allan Plever. Plever's condition book has been well received as stall applications exceeded the available stalls for the fall meet. Large stables from Roger Brueggemann, Frank Kirby, Chris Dorris and Chris Block return to Hawthorne from a summer at Arlington while Clay Brinson, Joel Berndt, Nevada Litfin and Randy Rarick come to Hawthorne from Canterbury Park. A 35-year racing veteran, Plever has worked at tracks throughout the country in numerous management positions.
In addition to providing the fullest fields with competitive runners, Plever will also oversee a stakes schedule that provides stakes actions on most weekends throughout the meet. The main changes come in the graded stakes for the fall meet. Opening weekend will provide evening stakes excitement with the 49th running of the Grade III $200,000 Hawthorne Derby on the turf. The Derby will be joined by the $75,000 guaranteed Indian Maid Handicap on turf for fillies and mares. The other major change comes with the move of the Grade II $350,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup. Traditionally run opening weekend, the Gold Cup has been moved to the Saturday following Thanksgiving on November 30. Following the pattern set in 2012, the Illinois-bred stakes races will again be run four weekends throughout the meet. The $75,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial will be contested on the grass on Saturday, October 12. The stakes schedule closes with Illinois-bred juveniles going two turns in the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante on December 7 and the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity on December 14.
Hawthorne's main track is in excellent shape for the meet following a surface refresher and the turf course has never looked better. The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) examined the main track and is very pleased with it. With the help of the ITHA, the full backstretch is in great shape as barns have been power washed, roads paved and trees trimmed and cleared.
For handicappers, Hawthorne welcomes the return of popular analyst Jim Miller to the airwaves. A 15-year Hawthorne fixture, Miller returns after being away for the spring meet to provide expanded analysis for the Hawthorne cards daily on-air, in-house, on TVG and with extended online handicapping information.
"We're very excited about this fall meet," stated Hawthorne President and General Manager Tim Carey. "We had to deal with everything under the sun last fall from poor weather to the virus that nearly crippled us. We have been proactive with a full cleaning of the backstretch this summer and are pleased to be working in hand with the ITHA. I'm excited to have Allan Plever on board as he has brought in some new stables and written a very popular condition book. Our night racing card on opening weekend has been received with a great response and our stakes schedule will provide for great racing action throughout the meet."
Live racing returns to Hawthorne on Friday, October 4 and concludes Sunday, December 29. Live racing will be conducted every Wednesday-Sunday. First post Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday is 2:10 pm. On Fridays through November 29, first post will be 3:10 pm. Saturday, October 5 is a special night racing card with a 5:00 pm first post. Beginning December 4, first post will be 1:20 pm daily. 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 www.hawthorneracecourse.com.