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Hawthorne to Expand NHC Qualifiers in 2014


Midwest Track Sends 16 Players to January Championship Contest


January 10, 2014 (CHICAGO) -  In 2014, Hawthorne Race Course will expand its series of popular handicapping contests, providing more national contest berths and over $150,000 in cash and prizes.  Unlike other contests where players make mythical wagers, the Hawthorne contests are a real money, live bankroll format.


In 2012, long-time Hawthorne player Jim Benes used one of the Hawthorne qualifiers to vault himself to national prominence, winning the 2013 National Handicapping Championship (NHC), and the $750,000 top prize.  Additionally, Benes will receive an Eclipse Award as the nation's top handicapper this January 18 at Gulfstream Park. Benes, who plays in all of Hawthorne's contests stated, "I love Hawthorne's contests. In my opinion, you can't beat the live money format. Plus, Hawthorne gives away so many NHC spots and they let you play any tracks you want, which is rare in contests. It's a great place to play."            


In 2013, Hawthorne Race Course awarded 16 qualifying spots to the NHC through its contests, and for 2014, that number will increase to 20.  In addition to the 20 NHC spots, the Hawthorne contests will also award a pair of Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge spots, along with qualifiers for contests to be conducted at both Canterbury Park and Woodbine Race Track.


"Hawthorne is the horse player’s track," Hawthorne assistant general manager, John Walsh stated, "Our real money contest means if a player is winning a contest, they are really winning because they walk away with their winnings from the contest, plus the bonus money from their wagers."


Hawthorne will host three weekends of contest qualifiers, with a total prize pool each weekend of over $50,000:


Spring Super Qualifier - April 25, 26, 27    

2 NHC Spots, Friday, April 25 with a $200 Entry ($150 live bankroll plus $50 NTRA Fee)           

3 NHC Spots, Saturday, April 26 with a $350 Entry ($300 live bankroll plus $50 NTRA Fee)

3 NHC Spots, Sunday, April 27 with a $350 Entry ($300 live bankroll plus $50 NTRA Fee)


Players participating in all three tournaments will receive a $50 discount if paid in full by April 13, 2014.


Hawthorne Derby Challenge - October 4 & 5      

Two day tournament, combining Saturday and Sunday live bankrolls, $700 Entry ($325 bankroll per day plus $50 NTRA Fee)            

2 Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge Spots and 4 NHC Spots


Fall Super Qualifier - November 28, 29, 30

2 NHC Spots, Friday, November 28 with a $200 Entry ($150 live bankroll plus $50 NTRA Fee)            

3 NHC Spots, Saturday, November 29 with a $350 Entry ($300 live bankroll plus $50 NTRA Fee)

3 NHC Spots, Sunday, November 30 with a $350 Entry ($300 live bankroll plus $50 NTRA Fee)



Hawthorne Race Course has been Chicago's "hometown track" for 122 years and currently offers the only traditional dirt racing for thoroughbreds in northern Illinois.  Hawthorne's spring meet opens February 21st and runs through April.  Live racing is hosted Friday through Sunday in February and Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in March and April.  Daily post time is 1:45 PM, and offers free admission every day.  The historic track is located a half-mile north of I-55 on Cicero Avenue, and 2 miles south of I-290 on Laramie Avenue at 35th Street.  For more information visit or call Guest Services at 708-780-3733.  Fans are welcome at and for up-to-the-minute racing tips become a follower at 



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