For Immediate Release
Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700
Entry Box Overflows,
Robbins Wins After 20 Year Break at Hawthorne
STICKNEY, IL – After a nearly three month break due to the
COVID-19 pandemic, live racing returned to Hawthorne Race Course last weekend.
With safety protocols in place for horsemen and staff, spectators not allowed
on-site to watch races, and with the time away from the track for many horses,
there was some uncertainty as to how entries and handle would be as racing returned.
questions were answered quickly and emphatically by the Illinois horsemen as
two packed days of qualifiers were followed by an overflowing entry box for
racing’s return. With two days of
qualifiers on June 1 and June 3, 29 qualifying races were contested at
Hawthorne leading into the racing weekend.
With the two-day racing weekend ahead, over 450 horses were entered,
leading to a pair of 13 race cards on June 6 and June 7.
fields were the trend the entire weekend as talented Terror of the Nite (1:55.1) was the first to find his way into the winner’s
circle for driver Robert Smolin and trainer Kyle
an injury last winter, Husted wasted little time making his winning return as a
driver, guiding home Adios Amigos (1:55.2) in Saturday’s second race.
meet’s leading driver, Casey Leonard, drove home back to back winners as Ricky
Bobbie (1:54.0) upset favored Rebel Rouser in the fourth race and favored Rock
It Out (1:54.3) was an easy winner of the fifth.
eight featured open pacers and the return of last summer’s two-year-old Night
of Champions winner He’zzz a Wise Sky. Despite facing older, He’zzz
a Wise Sky was patiently handled by Robert Smolin,
slipping through late on the inside for the victory in 1:53.1. Smolin would go on
to complete the night’s only driving triple as he lit up the toteboard in race 12 with 55-1 shot Big Bad Mosa drawing clear.
full fields on Saturday evening also set the tone for a strong night in regards
to handle as over $1 million was wagered on the Saturday card.
night brought about more of the same, as full fields, competitive racing, and
solid handle figures were on tap once again.
A trio of drivers were the story on Sunday evening, a pair
who have won many a race in recent years while another had quite the gap
Brandon Bates has made himself known to the Illinois racing fan, coming into town
to drive when not racing at Hoosier Park.
Bates had himself a nice Sunday night at Hawthorne. He started his evening winning the second
race, an open trot, as Pine Dream controlled the pace from start to finish,
winning in 1:56.3. Bates was back in the
winner’s circle in race seven as Skyway Trooper (1:55.0) battled to a
victory. Bates closed out his driving
triple with a rallying win behind Iceneedswhiskey
(1:56.1.) in race 12.
Travis Seekman had a nice season in 2019 at Hawthorne and looked
sharp in his return after the three month break from racing. Seekman also had a
driving triple on Sunday, taking race three with Americanboy
(1:54.2). He followed that win up with a score behind Tempus Seelster (1:52.4) in the filly and mare open pace. He capped off the night the right way, winning
the finale behind Rollinwithdesire (1:58.0), a
homebred for owner/trainer wife Desirae Seekman.
third driving story of the night came in race five. Race five was won by the
talented trotter Lous Paisano
in 2:00.0. Guiding Lous
Paisano to the win was driver Scott Robbins. With over 1,000 lifetime victories and nearly
$4 million in earnings, the name Scott Robbins was only familiar to those who
followed Illinois harness racing in the 80’s and 90’s. Prior to Sunday’s win, Robbins last pari-mutuel
victory had come on September 18, 1998 at Maywood Park. Robbins will be seen much more in the coming
weeks as he continues to pick up drives.
on Sunday was strong as well, falling only a hair shy
of $1.5 million. With the strong handle and overflowing entry box, racing
returns this weekend to three days per week, racing Friday through Sunday
Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s Hometown Track, returned
for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday,
September 20. Post time nightly is 7:10
PM. Hawthorne races live during the
summer harness meet every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year,
running from October 2 through December 26.
For more information, visit www.Hawthorneracecourse.com
or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.