Hawthorne Race Course plans to move swiftly to renovate its facilities to accommodate the racino operations that, per the state’s new gaming law, will generate funds to help boost purses to the benefit of horsemen and all the other Illinois workers whose livelihood is linked to live racing.
However, Hawthorne's anticipated schedule of construction activity in the coming spring will preclude thoroughbred horses from training on the track. Hawthorne will feature thoroughbred racing in early January but then cease thoroughbred racing until October.
This means there will be no training track at Hawthorne available for thoroughbreds during February, March or April. Illinois owners and trainers are advised to plan accordingly.
However, in an effort to reduce the burden on owners and trainers, the ITHA has worked with Hawthorne management to allow for the stabling of horses during the construction phase. We are pleased to report that Hawthorne has agreed to keep stalls for thoroughbred horses available through the end of March or until Arlington Park's backstretch opens. Hawthorne also has agreed to ensure that dorm space will be available during this time for backstretch workers and their families.
We recognize the significant inconvenience that the absence of a training track at Hawthorne will cause for owners and trainers in the coming spring. However, we look forward to moving our sport and industry beyond this short-term but difficult circumstance and enjoying the economic opportunities that will result once the new gaming law is fully implemented, and Hawthorne’s supplemental gaming begins producing a boost for purses.
We applaud Tim Carey and his team at Hawthorne for so earnestly pursuing the track's racino license and making plans to help move Illinois thoroughbred racing to a more competitive and productive future.