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ITHA News

Thank You Hawthorne

Horsemen Appreciate Your Continued & Sincere Dedication to Illinois Racing

The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, on behalf of Illinois thoroughbred owners and trainers, appreciates Hawthorne Race Course’s ongoing and true commitment to Illinois racing – particularly during this difficult time.

This spring, as the pandemic brought live racing throughout the country to a halt, Hawthorne graciously agreed to provide stabling for approximately 150 thoroughbred horses while offering housing for about 150 backstretch workers and their 200 children. Hawthorne also collaborated with the ITHA to provide meals to backstretch workers; Hawthorne provided the kitchen while the ITHA purchased and distributed more than 7,600 carryout meals.

“Hawthorne has once again shown it is sincerely dedicated to racing,” said ITHA President Mike Campbell. “Hosting the backstretch workers and their families, together with the thoroughbred horses, was the right thing to do. We are grateful for Hawthorne’s continued support of horsemen, backstretch workers, and the best interests of Illinois racing.”

When state officials agreed recently to permit the re-opening of OTBs, Hawthorne moved swiftly to restore normal operations at 10 of its 11 OTBs while simultaneously making modifications to allow for social distancing by patrons to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. Hawthorne parlors have since generated approximately 84% of total dark time handle and the associated revenue for purses.

When Illinois lawmakers last year approved a measure to allow racetracks to develop racino operations, Hawthorne did not hesitate to announce its plan to develop a racino entertainment complex that, once open, will help to significantly improve overnight purses. Hawthorne has been honest and transparent in its dealings with horsemen and elected officials. Thoroughbred owners and trainers look forward to racing at Hawthorne for years to come.