HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE
|Hawthorne Race Course daily notes (9/23/03)
Contact: Jim Miller
Gold Cup Heads Hawthorne Fall Meet
STICKNEY, IL -- The richest dirt race in Illinois, the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup, headlines the fall Thoroughbred season, which kicks off on Sunday. The purse for the 67th running of the Gold Cup has been boosted from $500,000 to $750,000 this year and has been returned to its place as a top prep for the Breeders' Cup, running on opening day.
The Hawthorne fall meeting runs 71 days, racing from September 28 - January 3, 2004. Traditionally the fall meet has produced the largest fields in the state as many barns have headed to Hawthorne following the Arlington summer meeting. This year will be no different as 2,800 stalls were applied for to fill to capacity the 2,050 stalls on the grounds. Past leading trainers Mike Reavis, Wayne Catalano, and Richard Hazelton will be returning to Hawthorne this fall and will be joined by newcomers Stanley Roberts, Leon Cline and Kelly Von Hemel.
Past leading riders are also back as Earlie Fires, Randall Meier and Larry Sterling Jr. return. Those riders will be joined in the room in 2003 by Seth Martinez, C.H. Marquez, and Glen Murphy.
This fall, Hawthorne's stakes schedule will be very strong as over $2.2 million in stakes purses will be competed for. The Grade 2, $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup heads the stakes schedule, running on opening day. On October 11, the $150,000 Indian Maid Breeders' Cup will be run on the turf. In following weeks, a pair of Graded events take place on the grass as the Grade 3, $250,000 Hawthorne Derby will be run on October 18 and the Grade 3, $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial takes place on November 1.
On November 8, Illinois-breds are featured with the renewal of the Phil Georgeff Illinois Festival of Racing. Over $600,000 will be distributed over the six state restricted stakes on this day that often decides who will be the Illinois Champions each year. The $100,000 Robert F. Carey II Handicap will take place on November 8 with the $100,000 Hawthorne Oaks the following weekend. The stakes schedule winds up with two-year-olds closing out the season with the $100,000 Illinois Breeders' Debutante on December 13 and the $100,000 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity on December 20.
Turf racing is slated to run through the third week of November, weather permitting, and may go longer if possible.
In the fall, Hawthorne races from September 28 - January 3, running live every Wednesday through Sunday. Hawthorne will also conduct a live card on Monday, October 13 and will be dark on Christmas Day. First post daily is 1:10 pm, except Breeders' Cup day when post time will be noon.