Hawthorne Spring Thoroughbred Meet Opens Friday

-Return of Illinois Derby, New Post Time to add exposure

STICKNEY, IL - The spring thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne opens on Friday, March 3 with a nine race card.  Entries filled nicely for the opening two days of the spring season, which will race on Friday and Saturday in the month of March.  In April, Thursday racing will be added.

                A mild winter and the availability of the track for training has led to an increase in horse population on the backstretch at Hawthorne. With training uninterrupted by weather during the winter dark period, many of those horses stables on the grounds are ready to race.  The favorable weather has also allowed for the turf course to begin growing much earlier in the year, with a full month of turf racing expected this meet.

                The opening day card drew 91 entries, with 88 within the body of the fields while Saturday's nine race card had 74 horses entered.  An influx of entries throughout the meet will come from Illinois horsemen stabled at Fairmount as the mild winter has allowed many horses to get race ready.

New to Hawthorne this meet is a 4:10 PM first post daily.  With many tracks racing on the East Coast early in the afternoon, the later post time will allow for increased exposure of the Hawthorne signal to bettors, along with broadcast partner TVG and TVG2.

                Returning to Hawthorne this spring will be the 59th running of the Grade 3, $250,000 Illinois Derby.  After a year hiatus to solidify the purse account for overnights, the Illinois Derby will be contested on Saturday, April 22.  Early nominations closed on February 22 with 65 horses nominated.  Late nominations close on Friday, April 7.  Early nominations are posted on the Hawthorne website under the Horsemen tab.

                Joining the Illinois Derby on April 22 will be a pair of Illinois-bred stakes.  Both will be contested at 6 ½ furlongs;  the Robert S. Molaro Handicap for three-year-olds and up and the Third Chance Handicap for fillies and mares, three-year-olds and up will take place.

                In the facility at Hawthorne, some major changes on the first floor are being added as well.  The new Tito's Stable Bar is nearing completion centrally on the first floor. Over 70 new flat screen televisions will be put in place along with new seating for players to enjoy the races along with a meal.  On the east end of the grandstand, our new Beginner's Luck Lounge will be opening. A taco bar, craft beer, and margaritas will be available every racing night. Live music will add to your enjoyment.

Hawthorne Race Course is located at 3501 S. Laramie Ave. in Stickney, Illinois. During the spring meet, 22 twilight racing cards will take place.  From May through September, the summer harness racing season will be conducted. Thoroughbreds return again in October and race through the end of the calendar year. 

For information on racing at Hawthorne, visit our website at or call 708-780-3700.