Contact : Jim Miller - (708)
For Immediate Release
Illinois Racing Season Opens Friday at Hawthorne
STICKNEY, IL -- In the midst of a winter that has included both record snowfall and record cold temperatures, the
weather looks to break this weekend as the Hawthorne spring meet kicks
off. While the fall meet ended with some
uncertainty as to the future of racing in the state, an extension to the
Advanced Deposit Wagering bill in Illinois was approved at the end of January
to insure a full racing schedule for 2014.
Horsemen have had to play catch-up quickly to prepare for the opener but
many are ready to run as 69 horses are entered on the opening day card.
are in the midst of winter, spring is just around the corner and will be highlighted
by a stakes schedule that covers a pair of days at the end of April. The highlighted day is April 19, as $850,000
in stakes races will be contested, with the feature being the 57th
running of the Grade 3, $500,000 Illinois Derby. Early closing for the Illinois Derby is
February 14, and is once again positioned to draw a large and competitive
field. In 2013, Departing used the
Illinois Derby as a prep for the Preakness, following
that race with victories in the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby and the Grade 2
Grade 3 Illinois Derby on April 19 will also be the Grade 3 Sixty Sails
Handicap. The $150,000 event for fillies
and mares will be contested at 1 1/8 miles on Hawthorne’s main track. In addition to the two Grade 3 events, older
Illinois-bred sprinters will also take to the track on April 19. Older state-bred males will sprint in the
$100,000 added Robert S. Molaro Handicap while
state-bred females will race in the $100,000 added Third Chance Handicap.
following weekend, on April 26, four $100,000 added stakes events for
Illinois-bred runners will take place.
Three-year-olds will be featured in the Land of Lincoln Stakes for the
boys and Pretty Jenny Stakes for females.
Older runners will go two turns as males face off in the Milwaukee
Avenue Handicap while female runners contest the Peach of It Handicap.
Many of the
mainstays at Hawthorne return on the training and riding end. Past meet training champions Roger Brueggemann, Mike Reavis and
Frank Kirby will have full stables of runners this spring. They will be joined by large stables of Chris
Dorris, Chris Block, Brian Williamson, John Haran,
and Manny Perez.
meet leading rider Tim Thornton is back to defend his title as he will be
joined by veterans Eddie Perez, Marlon St. Julien, and Rafael Hernandez. The females made their mark last fall and a pair
of female apprentice riders return as Stephanie
Slinger and Heidi Rose are back in the Hawthorne jocks room.
the best rewards program in the country is available as Club Hawthorne is free
to sign up for and points can be earned on all races wagered on at Hawthorne
and any Club Hawthorne OTB location. An
extension of our popular first floor box seat areas as new boxes have been
created and expanded food service will be available in those boxes every racing
day. For details on seating in that
area, visit Guest Services on the first floor.
As in the past, our partnership with TVG continues for fans who aren’t able to see every race live at Hawthorne. Finally, admission to Hawthorne is free every
day. We want fans to come out and join
us for the great racing action!
“The has been a very tough winter on everyone,” stated
Hawthorne President and General Manager Tim Carey. “Our track crew has done a great job to allow
for us to train as much as we have during this dark period. That being said, we know many horsemen are
behind in their training but as things warm up, we expect they will catch up
quickly. I expect us to gather momentum
as the meet progresses and I’m looking forward to another strong Illinois Derby
The 37 day
racing meet runs through April 27. Live
racing takes place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as Wednesday cards will
be added in March. First post daily is
1:45 PM while a special 5:00 PM post is scheduled for the final Friday of the
meet. Fans can get all of the racing
details from Hawthorne, along with changes, selections and race replays on our
website at www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com.