Contact : Jim Miller - (708)
For Immediate Release
Hawthorne Spring Meet Concludes With Strong Handle Gains
– Increased purses, larger fields, great weather and placement of races led to
a very strong spring thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne
as the season concluded on Sunday. With
the release of the impact fee funds prior to the start of last fall’s
thoroughbred meet, an increase in overnights of 50% helped to keep more
horsemen on the grounds through the winter dark period in preparation for the
spring, Hawthorne saw an increase in total
handle of nearly $20 million as $92,109,865 was wagered on the Hawthorne live product compared to
$72,239,975 in the 2011 spring meet over the same 41 racing day period. The handle total translated to a 27.5%
increase with an average daily handle of $2,246,582 compared to $1,761,950 for
a daily increase of $484,632 per racing day.
Onsite handle for the spring meet was $4,176,448, an increase of over
$700,000 compared to the $3,475,224 wagered in 2011 for an average daily onsite
handle of $101,864. The onsite increase
for the meet was 20%. In state handle
increased 9.2% while out of state handle was up over 30% for the spring meet.
the lessened purses and horse population allowed for 359 races to be run with
2,597 starters for an average field size of 7.23 starters per race. Due to an extremely rainy season in 2011,
there were no races run on the turf last spring. This spring, the increased purses and
improved weather allowed for 33 turf races to be run and a total of 371 races
contested. A total of 3,027 horses
started for an average field size of 8.16 starters per race.
meet, the combination of jockey Francisco Torres, trainer Roger Brueggemann and
owner Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc took the respective titles. After returning to Hawthorne last November, business picked up
for Torres quickly as this spring he won a total of 56 races for over $1.2
million in purses.
Second in the standings was Tim Thornton with 35 wins, followed by a
three way tie for third between Constantino Roman, Florent
Geroux and apprentice Alejandro Contreras with 23 wins apiece.
Roger Brueggemann took home the training title, posting 42 wins from 143
starters for the meet. The 64% in the
money rate for Brueggemann was the top amongst trainers along with the $923,743
in earnings. Second in the standings was
Frank Kirby with 24 wins, followed by John Haran with 19 winners on the meet.
Thoroughbreds, Inc., of Rich and Karen Papiese, were
the meet’s leading owners with 26 wins from 100 starters for $674,342 in
earnings. Second was Hondo Ranch of
Frank and Sharon Kirby with 10 wins followed by Eagle Valley Farm of John Haran
with 7 wins. As a great gesture to our
riders and thoroughbred horses, Midwest Thoroughbreds donated $20,000 to the
Permanently Disabled Jockeys’ Fund and $7,500 to Galloping Out, the
thoroughbred retirement program in Illinois, upon their acceptance as leading
owner for the spring.
was highlighted by the running of the Grade 3, $500,000 TVG Illinois
Derby. Done Talking got
up in the final strides to win the Illinois Derby on his way to a trip to Louisville on the first
Saturday in May for trainer Hamilton Smith.
The Grade 3, $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap returned to the stakes
schedule and saw an impressive victory from She’s All In for trainer Donnie Von
Hemel. Illinois Champions Day concluded
the stakes schedule for the spring, highlighted by wins from Third Chance in her
return and the gutsy River Bear in the most impressive effort on the stakes
an extremely important meet for Hawthorne,”
President and General Manager Tim Carey.
“We took it upon ourselves to do everything possible to ensure that this
spring was a success. The support of our
horsemen was tremendous and a very mild winter helped. We embarked on a very aggressive marketing
push which was capped by the first ever showing of the Illinois Derby on WGN
and the fans responded by coming out to the track. Having larger fields is always important and
that is a credit to our horsemen who had their horses ready to run from the
start of the meet. TVG has also been a
great partner. Their increased coverage
drove handle to Hawthorne
and we are so pleased to have them as partners for the TVG Illinois Derby and
thank them for great coverage all meet long.
Overall, this meet showed us and the entire industry that with increased
purses, the horses will be there and we can raise the interest for racing in Illinois this year and
for years to come.”
Live racing returns to Hawthorne on Wednesday,
October 3 and concludes on December 31. In
the fall, racing will take place every Wednesday through Sunday. First post daily for the fall will be 1:40 PM
with the exception of Fridays when the first post time is 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 www.Hawthorneracecourse.com