FEBRUARY 22, 2013 (CHICAGO) - Officials at Hawthorne Race Course announced on Friday that overnight harness racing purses at the track will increase by $12,000 per day. The purse hike will take effect March 1 and will increase the purses on overnight races across the board by approximately 15%.
Due to the temporary suspension of advanced deposit wagering in Illinois, Hawthorne and its off-track betting facilities have handled an additional $300,000 in full card wagering since its meet began on February 15. With the expectation that this trend will continue, the purse increase will be sustained throughout its spring meet which ends on April 28th. The fifteen percent increase in purses goes into effect just two weeks into the Illinois track's eleven-week spring meet.
"This is in keeping with our ongoing commitment to reinvest in Illinois racing," said Tim Carey, president and general manager of Hawthorne Race Course. "We continue to work closely with our horsemen to provide rewarding racing opportunities."
Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association president, Mike Campbell, stated, "This is going to make a significant difference for many trainers here at Hawthorne. I think almost everyone involved in Illinois racing understands where the industry is at financially and this is a great example of how we need to work together so that we can all get to the next phase of Illinois horseracing." There are currently over 1,350 horses stabled at Hawthorne, providing some of the biggest average field sizes in the country.
The highlight of Hawthorne's spring meet will be the 56th running of the Illinois Derby (GIII), to be held on April 20. The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds received a 50% purse increase prior to the current overnight purse increase: from $500,000 to $750,000 for the 2013 running of the race. The Sixty Sails Handicap, a $200,000 GIII event for fillies and mares that are three years old and older, will also be run on April 20, making the day's purses more than $1,000,000.
ABOUT HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE
Hawthorne Race Course has been Chicago's "hometown track" for 122 years and currently offers the only traditional dirt racing for thoroughbreds in northern Illinois. Hawthorne's spring meet opens February 15thand runs through April. Live racing is hosted Friday thru Sunday in February and Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in March and April. Daily post time is 1:35 PM, and admission costs $4. The historic track is located a half-mile north of I-55 on Cicero Avenue, and 2 miles south of I-290 on Laramie Avenue at 35th Street. For more information visit www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com or call Guest Services at 708-780-3733. Fans are welcome at Facebook.com/Club Hawthorne and for up-to-the-minute racing tips become a follower at Twitter.com/Club Hawthorne.