Day At The Track

Harness action returns to Hawthorne

10:12 AM 04 May 2019 NZST
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Hawthorne Race Course
Hawthorne Race Course

STICKNEY, IL - As the only track in the United States left doing a complete track surface conversion, live harness racing action kicks off at Hawthorne Race Course on Friday, May 3. The spring thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne concluded under the wrath of Mother Nature on Saturday, April 27 as snow covered the grounds to close out the season. Despite the weather, the track crew at Hawthorne was hard at work first thing on Sunday, stripping the sloppy dirt, pulling the rail, and prepping the paddock to open the harness season. Despite three days of non-stop rain, the crew completed their work late Wednesday evening, with the track opening for training on Thursday, May 2.

Introduced during the spring thoroughbred meet, but new to the harness industry in Illinois, Hawthorne's races will be broadcast in HD in 2019. This means a crisp, clear picture, new graphics, and additional cameras in Hawthorne's backside paddock to catch all of the racing action.

Many familiar faces return to Hawthorne this summer as leading driver Casey Leonard leads a strong driving colony. Kyle Wilfong and Kyle Husted are back, along with Tim Curtin, Ridge Warren, and Travis Seekman, just to name a few.

Top Illinois trainers Terry Leonard and Nelson Willis return, as Roshun Trigg, Brett Wilfong, Mike Brink, and Angela Coleman lead a group of trainers looking to make their mark this summer.

The opening night card is highlighted by the return of 2018 Illinois Horse of the Year Fox Valley Gemini as he leads a field of open pacers. A 10-time winner of nearly $140,000 in 2018, Fox Valley Gemini faces a tough field that includes two others who won 10 times last summer as Terror of the Nite and Trashytonguetalker look to pull off the upset in the opening night feature.

Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returns for live harness racing on Friday, May 3. The summer harness meet opens on Friday, May 3 and races through September 22. Post time nightly is 7:20 PM. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 10 through December 28. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700.

Jim Miller

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