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Thoroughbred Season Brings Renewed Optimism

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jim Miller (708) 780-3700


Thoroughbred Season Brings Renewed Optimism at Hawthorne


STICKNEY, IL – With the winter slowly coming to an end in the Chicagoland area, a renewed sense of optimism can be seen on the backstretch at Hawthorne Race Course as the spring meet opens up on Saturday. Increased purses, a building horse population and the return of a spring stakes schedule highlight the Hawthorne meet.

              A purse boost from additional host days, along with funds from the Illinois Purse Equity Fund have brought about a significant purse increase to all races.  Maiden allowance races have gone from $21,000 last season to $40,000 this meet. First level allowance races have grown to $42,000, optional claiming allowance races to $46,000 and lower-level maiden and claiming races have seen a 30-40% purse increase across the board.

              The ability to race for higher purses has garnered interest from trainers across the country as the horse population on the Hawthorne backstretch is expected to exceed 1,000 horses for the spring meet.  Large stables from Larry Rivelli, Hugh Robertson and Gerald Brooks are stabled at Hawthorne.  Brian Cook and Manny Perez also have large outfits on the Hawthorne backstretch.  A strong riding colony is led by past champs Jareth Loveberry and Victor Santiago. Jockeys Rocco Bowen and Santo Sanjur return while newer faces to Hawthorne, Ty Kennedy, Orlando Mojica, Jorge Urdaneta and Carlos Villasana join the jockey’s room.

              The meet will open with a heavy slate of dirt sprint races as horses continue to get fit.  Later in the month of April, more route races will be mixed in while turf racing is expected early in May. Eight stakes races are back on the schedule at Hawthorne this spring, four for state-bred horses and four open races.  All eight stakes will go for $75,000 with four of the stakes being conducted on the turf course.

              “We are very excited about the spring meet,” stated Hawthorne Assistant General Manager John Walsh. “The horsemen of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association have already shown great support in the entry box. The increased purses have been a major draw. Also, to start building a stakes schedule once again shows that things are headed in right direction at Hawthorne.”

Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago’s Hometown Track, races year-round in 2022. The winter harness season concluded on Sunday, March 20. Spring thoroughbreds kick off Saturday, April 2 and conclude Saturday, June 25. The summer harness season begins on Thursday, June 30 and races through Sunday, September 11. Fall thoroughbreds return Friday, September 23rd and race through Saturday, December 31. For any information about Hawthorne Race Course visit our website

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