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Stickney, IL -- Thirty years after Illinois passed legislation legalizing ten casinos to operate throughout the State, Hawthorne Race Course has been preliminarily approved to become its next casino. Today, the Illinois Gaming Board voted unanimously that Hawthorne’s ownership and key personnel are “suitable” for eventual casino licensure. Founded in 1891, Hawthorne is the longest running legal gambling business in the State and is Illinois’ oldest sporting venue. In becoming a fully operational casino featuring slot machines, table games and sports betting, Hawthorne will transform Illinois horseracing and create the most dynamic entertainment experience for casino customers in the Chicagoland area. “It’s really hard to put into context what this means for the very hardworking people of the Illinois racing industry,” said Tim Carey, president and CEO of the 4th generation family-owned business. “It means horsemen will be able to keep their businesses and families in Illinois. It means showcasing this historic sport to a new generation of fans. It means creating a truly unique, first-of-its-kind entertainment experience that won’t exist anywhere else in Illinois.” In addition to slot machines and table games, Hawthorne’s casino plans include a state-of-the-art sportsbook to be developed in partnership with PointsBet; dining amenities showcasing well-known Chicago culinary experiences; a multi-level parking garage; and a new racing operation with upgraded wagering facilities. Major construction and renovation is expected to begin in September with plans for the casino to open in late 2021. “I think a lot of people may have expected us to simply put some slot machines and tables into our existing facility, but we’re going to substantially raise the bar on the Chicagoland casino experience,” said Kevin Kline, Hawthorne’s CEO of Gaming. “As an independent operator, Hawthorne is like a 130 year old start-up business, and we are going to lead with innovation, excitement and a culture that celebrates our customers and empowers our team members every day. We’re going to break the mold on what a regional integrated casino, racing, and entertainment destination can be.” Kline, a 25-year veteran of the gaming industry has significant experience in the development and management of ground-up, multi-faceted casino projects and operations across several markets including Chicagoland. He has been leading Hawthorne’s development since September 2019. From Hathorne Race Course

STICKNEY, IL - With two months left in the summer harness racing season at Hawthorne Race Course, the Night of Champions legs rolled on as points leaders looked to extend their leads while others looked to break into the top ten. Friday night featured a pair of divisions of leg three of the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial. The Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial is for Illinois-bred three-year-old male pacers. The first division featured a heavy favorite as 2019 two-year-old champ He'zzz A Wise Sky was sent away as the 1-9 choice in the field of five. Despite settling at the back of the pack early on, the favorite didn't disappoint as Bobby Smolin confidently handled him, closing in :27.3 to win by a length-and-a-half. 38-1 longshot Western Perch finished second while Illini Force was third. The Don Filomeno trained He'zzz A Wise Sky covered the mile over a fast track in 1:53.0.   The second division of the Carey was also a field of five as a pair of scratches left Ryans Ambassador and Rg's Tracer co-favored. In a race contested very similarly to the first division, Kim Roth trained Bagman settled at the back of the field early and rallied for the victory. Driven by Todd Warren, Bagman closed in :27.2 to win by two-lengths in 1:54.4. Ryans Ambassador was second while Rg's Tracer finished third. On Saturday night a pair of divisions of the Plum Peachy, for Illinois-bred three-year-old filly pacers took place. In the first division the favorite didn't disappoint. Kyle Husted trained Fox Valley Exploit got the job done as the 2-5 favorite, settling back early and rallying for driver Casey Leonard to win in 1:53.0. Sign Her Up closed to finish second while Sleazy Gal was third. The second division of the Plum Peachy was a runaway as the Leroy Hunt trained Double Parked made the top early and drew off in the lane, winning by six lengths for driver Travis Seekman. Dancin Eyes finished second while Fox Valley Nia closed to finish third. Double Parked won in 1:54.4. State-bred three-year-old trotters were the focus on Sunday as the boys contested a pair of divisions of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial while the girls battled in the Beulah Dygert Memorial. The first division of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial saw an impressive effort as Crooked Creek was sent away as the heavy favorite and rolled to a clear six-length score for owner Ed Teefey, trainer Mike Brink, and driver Mike Oosting. Lous Paisano was second while Desert Sheik finished third. Crooked Creek won in 1:56.2. The skies opened the following race as rain poured down upon a now sloppy surface for the first division of the Beulah Dygert Memorial. While favored Lous Abigail carved out the early fractions, it was driver Brandon Bates and Fox Valley Extacy who rallied for the three-length score. The win was career victory number 1,000 for Bates as a driver as Fox Valley Extacy won in 1:59.0 for trainer Hector Herrera. Lous Abigail held second while Bee See finished third.   The second division of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial also went to the favorite. This time it was the Tom Simmons trained Fox Valley Quest. Taking the early lead for driver Casey Leonard and drawing clear in the lane, Fox Valley Quest stopped the timer in 1:59.4. On Higher Ground chased to finished second while Mt Red Thunder closed late to finish third. The second division of the Beulah Dygert Memorial was wide open. While favored Tropical Rosie tired in the lane, it was second choice Fox Valley Lush who took over in the stretch and won for driver Todd Warren and trainer Jim Eaton. Lous Cover Girl was second while Lous Flashy Dancer finished third. Fox Valley Lush went 2:02.1 over the sloppy track. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday, September 20. Post time nightly is 7:10 PM. Hawthorne races live during the summer harness meet every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 2 through December 26. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

STICKNEY, IL - A trio of 13 race cards highlighted a warm and adventurous weekend at Hawthorne Race Course. Leading the way throughout the weekend was the father-son pair of Todd and Ridge Warren. Friday night was Ridge Warren night at Hawthorne as he made his presence known early in the evening. Ridge kicked off his hot night winning the first leg of the early pick 4 sequence with 5-1 shot Impressive Art (1:53.2) for trainer Dane May. While Ridge started the pick 4 with a win, he completed a sweep of the entire sequence. In race 4, the second leg of the early pick 4, Warren guided home Mckee Creek (1:53.3) to a late rallying victory for trainer Nick Prather. He followed that with winning behind He Gone Jack (1:52.1) for the second straight week for trainer Mike Brink. Ridge closed the sequence with the upset of the night as Terry Leonard trained Ponda's Prospect (1:51.0) upset Terry Leonard trained Illinois Champ Fox Valley Gemini, winning the open pace by a neck. Ridge rounded out his night taking the 12th race behind Better Watch Out (1:52.2) for trainer Merv Chupp, capping a five-win evening. While Ridge Warren had the big night, his father Todd won the biggest race on the Friday card. Leg two action of the $17,500 Incredible Finale, for Illinois-bred two-year-old male pacers was the featured event. An early break by favored Well Basically opened the door for Todd Warren to give a perfect trip to Frontier Charley as the Jim Eaton trained youngster won by a head in 1:57.1. Mekkas Big Guy was a game second while Partyatmosasplace finished third. Todd would make it a Friday double, taking the nightcap with Artofficial Flavor (1:54.2) for trainer Angela Coleman.   The tables turned on Saturday night as this time it was Todd Warren stringing together victories on the card. Trying to repeat the feat of Ridge's Friday night early pick 4 sweep, Todd nearly did just that. In the first leg of the Saturday sequence, Todd got things started, pulling off the big upset with 29-1 shot Helen's Girl (1:54.3) for trainer William Crone. In the following race it was Todd Warren again in the winner's circle, this time with Crooked Creek (1:55.4) for trainer Mike Brink. The third leg of the pick 4 also went to Todd Warren as he drove Tappin Outamessage (1:52.2) to a clear win for trainer Harold Herrera. Todd almost got the sweep of the sequence but Fox Valley Torrid came up short, finishing third in race 6 as favored Lilly Von Shtupp (1:53.2) wasn't to be denied. With Todd Warren winning races early, it meant it was Ridge Warren's turn to take the spotlight for the stakes event. Leg two of the $17,500 Incredible Tillie for Illinois-bred two-year-old filly pacers followed. Heavily favored was Ridge Warren driven Connie On The Go and she didn't disappoint, controlling the pace for the majority of the race, winning clearly for trainer Jamaica Patton in 1:58.0. Princess Mooss rallied to finish second while longshot Kandi's Fortune held third.   Ridge was able to grab his second win on the card, taking race 12 with Hello Art (1:55.0) for trainer Mike Brink. Saturday also saw a driving triple from Casey Leonard, winning the second with Meetmeatthefinish (1:54.1), sixth race behind Lilly Von Shtupp (1:53.2), and 11th with Louscardamon (1:58.4). Kyle Wilfong had a pair of wins on the card, guiding home favorites Stella Kemp (1:58.4) and Ok Jewel (1:54.4) to wins in the ninth and tenth races. An eventful Sunday evening at Hawthorne wasn't dominated nearly as much by the Warren family, although the father-son duo were the race five exacta as Todd drove Shelly On My Mind (1:53.2) to a win over Ridge and Pretty Iris. Juvenile trotters were the focus on the card with a pair of divisions of the $17,500 Fox Valley Flan for two-year-old filly trotters and two divisions of the $17,500 Kadabra for two-year-old male trotters. The first division of the Fox Valley Flan was dominated by the favorite as Bbr Lady grabbed the early lead for driver-trainer Freddie Patton, Jr. and never looked back, winning easily in 2:01.4. Lucky Valerie was a good second while Lou Lou Lamour recovered from a break to finish third. The second division of the Fox Valley Flan saw a minor upset as Kyle Wilfong guided Lous Voodoo Woman (2:01.2) to the score over favored Myonly Sin. Bc's Rose finished third. Lous Voodoo Woman was trained by Steve Searle. In the first leg of the Kadabra we saw an upset as well as Rndmnunpredictable uncorked a late rally to catch favored Sudden Approach on the wire, winning in 2:01.2 for driver Mike Oosting and trainer Steve Searle. I'mnotalocaldude finished third. The second leg of the Kadabra had the two favorites rallying late as Coco D'Lascito (2:03.4) rolled to the win for Casey Leonard and trainer Jenna Lubeck. Slight favorite Shady Maple Spirit was good enough to finish second while Lousrolando was third. The tenth race Sunday had a scary moment as Captain Classic stepped on a front hobble at the top of the stretch, causing a chain reaction spill that included Fox Valley Jude and Master Ken. In the spill, drivers Kyle Husted, Tyler Shehan, and Casey Leonard were all unseated. Fortunately all three horses escaped injury and Shehan and Leonard were able to walk away from the incident. Husted was transported to the hospital but reports that he was dealing with knee soreness from a prior injury and hopes for a quick return to the bike. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday, September 20. Post time nightly is 7:10 PM. Hawthorne races live during the summer harness meet every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 2 through December 26. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hathorne Race Course

Harness racing driver Kyle Husted of Altamont was injured Sunday night in a race accident at Hawthorne Race Course, when the horse he was driving stumbled and fell while leading the field around the final turn. Husted, 28, was leading the race with Captain Classic as the horses approached the top of the homestretch, when the pacer tripped and fell after the hopple tethered to his right front leg broke and slipped below the knee. Rock Jagger, who was drafting behind Captain Classic, made contact with the left wheel on Husted's race bike, unseating Husted.  Husted's mother, Pam Coleman, confirmed that her son was transferred by ambulance to Loyola University's Level I Trauma Center, approximately six miles northwest of the racetrack. Evaluation of Husted's injuries were continuing as of mid-morning on Monday, with preliminary reports indicating that the injuries were non-life-threatening but likely to sideline Husted for the remainder of the 2020 racing season.    Drivers Casey Leonard, and Tyler Shehan  were also unseated in the accident.  Husted, who has driven horses on a full-time basis since 2009, has won 664 races in his career, while his mounts have earned a total of $5 million. Following a delayed start to the 2020 campaign because of reconstructive knee surgery, he had won 21 races and posted a total of 57 top-three finishes on the year, with purse earnings of $182,000. From Hawthorne Race Course via Facebook

STICKNEY, IL - As the return to live harness racing at Hawthorne surpassed one month after a lengthy break for the pandemic, the babies on the grounds were featured as they start to round into form. The weather was great for the three day racing weekend as handle continued to surge at Hawthorne Race Course. The 11 race Friday card at Hawthorne belonged to driver Todd Warren. Warren opened the night winning with Chasing Money (1:54.2) for trainer Ronnie Roberts. Two races later it was a Warren driven upset as 19-1 shot Impressive Cowboy (1:54.0) caught favored Ok Galahad for trainer Eugene Gilerman. In the night's featured event, the $42,950 Cardinal for two-year-old colt and gelding pacers, Warren pulled off another upset. This time he took trainer Jim Eaton's Frontier Charley (1:57.0) from second-to-last into the winner's circle with a late closing win at 10-1 odds. 40-1 shot Mekkas Big Guy rallied for second over favored Well Basically.   In the very next race, Warren was back in the winner's circle for his fourth time on the card as Mighty Tony Mac (1:55.0) just got up for the victory for trainer Tim Roach. Warren made it a five-bagger when he drove Better Watch Out (1:52.1) to a win in the nightcap for trainer Merv Chupp. While Todd Warren had five winners on Friday night, the spotlight also shone on his son Ridge. Ridge Warren grabbed a pair of victories as he confidently handled Toxic Rock (1:52.3) for the win in race five. He was back with his second victory on the card with a very smart drive behind 10-1 shot He Gone Jack (1:52.1), weaving his way through traffic to win race 10. Ridge Warren's solid Friday evening continued onward to Saturday as he guided home a pair of winners on back to back nights. Ridge drove Rockyroad Aldo (1:58.0) to a 13-1 upset score in the opener for trainer Kim Roth. He was also in the bike for the featured $43,100 Violet for two-year-old filly pacers behind favored Connie On The Go. The talented youngster didn't disappoint as she rallied in the lane to win by a neck in 1:58.2 for trainer Jamaica Patton. Princess Mooss held second while Clearly The Bomb was a game third.   Casey Leonard grabbed a three-bagger on Saturday as well. He scored with Fox Valley Sierra (1:55.4) in race two for Terry Leonard. The driver-trainer duo teamed up again to score in the open trot as Call For Justice (1:54.4) closed with a late rush for the win. Leonard closed out the card winning the finale for trainer Nelson Willis with Rockinsweetvictory (1:53.1). On Sunday evening the inexperience showed for some of the juvenile trotters as upsets occurred throughout the night. The first of the evening's featured events was the $22,775 Cardinal for male juvenile trotters. After winning earlier in the night with Valar Morghulis (1:53.4) in race two, driver Mike Oosting grabbed his second win on the card as he kept Shady Maple Spirit (2:04.3) on stride to win for trainer Dennis Gardner at odds of nearly 6-1. The upset came after 1-9 shot Coco D'Lascito broke multiple times in the race and was placed fifth after finishing fourth while breaking through the wire. The following race was the $43,000 Violet for female juvenile trotters and again Oosting and his drive were the beneficiaries of another costly break. This time the break came from 4-5 favorite Loulita who never recovered. Oosting took advantage, giving Myonly Sin (2:03.1) a perfect trip in victory for trainer Erv Miller. Oosting would go on to cap his four win night as he guided Sport Miss Dune (1:57.0) to the win in race eight. The second division of the $22,775 Cardinal also saw another costly break to a favorite as 3-5 shot Bobalou broke early and never recovered. This time it was Shady Maple Valor (2:03.4) who made the top and never looked back for driver Freddie Patton, Jr. and trainer Roshun Trigg. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday, September 20. Post time nightly is 7:10 PM. Hawthorne races live during the summer harness meet every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 2 through December 26. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

STICKNEY, IL - A busy return to live racing continued at Hawthorne Race Course as races continued to fill very well. With claiming series coming to their conclusion and Night of Champions action moving forward, there was an abundance of competitive racing for the top horses on the grounds. Over the three day weekend, between added non-wagering events and live racing cards, 45 races were conducted around the Hawthorne oval. The 15 race Friday card had its share of features with two divisions of leg two of the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial, leg one action in the Incredible Finale, as well as a fine field of open pacers. The Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial for Illinois-bred three-year-old male pacers was raced in two divisions over a sloppy racetrack. The first division was won impressively by Megan Rogers Racing Stables Inc.'s Fox Valley Ren. Sent off as the heavy 1-9 choice, Fox Valley Ren was in full control for driver Kyle Wilfong, extending his margin at each call. He would go on to win by eight-and-a-quarter lengths in 1:54.1 for trainer Nelson Willis. Illini Force finished second while Bagman was third. The second division of the Carey was also won by the heavy choice. This time it was Triple Zzz Stable's He'zzz A Wise Sky, rolling home for Robert Smolin. Settling early, He'zzz A Wise Sky took over in the stretch and drew clear through the wire in 1:53.4 for trainer Don Filomeno. Rg's Tracer was second while Ryans Ambassador finished third. A field of seven two-year-old Illinois-bred male pacers lined up in leg one of the Incredible Finale. Owned and bred by Flacco Family Farms LLC, Ryans Loan Shark controlled the pace from the start for driver Cordarius Stewart, holding sway to win in 2:01.2. Trained by Roshun Trigg, Ryans Loan Shark pulled off the slight upset as the third choice in the race. Partyatmosasplace was second while Prince of Style finished third. Perennial Illinois-bred champ Fox Valley Gemini capped the night as he returned in fine fashion in the night's open pace. Settling at the back of the pack early, driver Casey Leonard tipped out Fox Valley Gemini in the lane as he rolled home to a win in 1:53.3. Trained by Terry Leonard, Fox Valley Gemini is owned by Jim Ballinger. With clear skies returning on Saturday, more stakes legs continued. Before the stakes legs were contested, open trotters took to the track early in the evening. Chupp Racing Stable Inc.'s Pine Dream was in full control, leading from start to finish while winning in 1:55.0. Todd Warren drove for trainer Merv Chupp. A pair of divisions of leg two of the Plum Peachy followed. The Plum Peachy is for Illinois-bred three-year-old filly pacers. The first division had a heavy favorite as 1-9 shot Sleazy Gal narrowly held off longshot Amazon Princess to win by a head in 1:56.3. Owned by Engel Stable of IL LLC and trained by Erv Miller, Sleazy Gal was driven by Casey Leonard. The second division of the Plum Peachy had another heavy favorite. This time it was Fox Valley Exploit for owners David Brigham and trainer Kyle Husted. With Husted in the bike, Fox Valley Exploit moved early to the lead and held off the late rally of Sign Her Up to win by a length-and-a-half in 1:54.2. Illinois-bred two-year-old filly pacers made their Hawthorne debuts in leg one of the Incredible Tillie. Driver Ridge Warren guided Connie On The Go to a late closing victory by a head over Princess Mooss in 1:59.3. Clearly the Bomb was a game third. Connie On The Go is owned by Ronald Phillips and John Carver and trained by Jamaica Patton. Sunday kicked off with three non-wagering events as Night of Champions legs continued. First off was the first leg of the Fox Valley Flan for Illinois-bred two-year-old filly trotters. Trainer Steve Searle swept the trifecta as Lous Voodoo Woman won for driver Kyle Wilfong in 2:01.3. She was followed by Searle trainees Loulita and Lou Lou Lamour. Lous Voodoo Woman is owned by Steven Renard. The second of the non-wagering events was for three-year-old Illinois-bred filly trotters in the first division of the Beulah Dygert Memorial. It was another Steve Searle trainee who was victorious as Lous Abigail held off Fox Valley Extacy in 2:58.1 for driver Casey Leonard. Lous Abigail is owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC. The final non-wagering event had Illinois-bred two-year-old male trotters taking to the track in leg one action of the Kadabra. Driver Casey Leonard found himself in the winner's circle again, this time with Coco D' Lascito for trainer Jenna Lubeck. In full control from start to finish, Coco D' Lascito won by five lengths in 2:01.4 for owner Samuel Daddono. Shady Maple Spirit was second while Rndmnunpredictable finished third. The Sunday pari-mutuel card had three more Night of Champions events with a pair of divisions of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial as well as the second division of the Beulah Dygert Memorial. Illinois-bred three-year-old male trotters were the focus in the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial. The first division saw the favorites finish one-two as Ed Teefey's Crooked Creek held off On Higher Ground to win in 1:57.0. Crooked Creek was driven by Mike Oosting. Both of the top two finishers were trained by Mike Brink. Lous Paisano would go on to finish third. The second division of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial went to heavy favorite Fox Valley Quest. Trained by Tom Simmons and driven by Casey Leonard, Fox Valley Quest won by nearly five lengths in 1:58.0 over Desert Sheik and Mr Red Thunder. Fox Valley Quest is owned by Carl Lacy and Benita Simmons. The second division of the Beulah Dygert Memorial was won in fine fashion by Bee See. Owned by Molly Baldes, Steve Searle, Michael and Chris Paloma, Bee See took advantage of a break at the start by favorite Fox Valley Lush as was in control throughout. Driven by Kyle Husted, Bee See won in 1:59.0 for trainer Steve Searle. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday, September 20. Post time nightly is 7:10 PM. Hawthorne races live during the summer harness meet every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 2 through December 26. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course  

STICKNEY, IL - With the summer harness racing season gearing up, Illinois-breds were the focus as the entry box continued to overflow. Hawthorne saw increases in handle every weekend day, surpassing $1 million in handle both Friday and Saturday and $1.3 million on Sunday. On Friday evening multiple legs of the Club Hawthorne Mini Series continued as driver James Lackey kicked off a driving double winning the opener behind Almost Cut My Hair in 1:52.1. A speedy strip led to solid times throughout the card as Lackey also won the fifth race, guiding On Duty to an easy win in 1:51.2. Driver Cordarius Stewart and trainer Joh Hughes pair up for a Friday double, winning race two with Illuminati Hanover (1:55.1) and race eight with Final Prize (1:56.2). Todd Warren won also won two Friday, driving home the first of trainer Tom Simmons two winners on the night as Mykonos (1:53.0) won the fourth. Warren also won the Friday finale with Dakota Roadster (1:53.1) for trainer Rob Rittof. Simmons second winner of the night came from Yankee Bounty (1:52.0) for driver Juan Franco in race 12. The only driving triple Friday belonged to Casey Leonard. Leonard took the third with Trashytonguetalker (1:52.1), sixth behind Sirodsdalicrickett (1:53.3), and seventh with Native's Best Bet (1:52.3). Trainer Terry Leonard had a double as Over Speeding (1:53.3) joined Trashtonguetalker as his winners on the card. The fastest mile of the night went to 24-1 shot Rock Steady Ron as Clifton Bell gave him a perfect trip for trainer Jamaica Patton, winning race nine in 1:50.2. A 13-race Saturday card spanned nearly six hours as a nearly two hour mid-card weather delay slowed the evening down. Two divisions of the Cardinal for Illinois-bred three-year-old male pacers were contested along with their female counterparts in the Violet. The first division of the Cardinal was won by Rg's Tracer (1:54.1) as Travis Seekman drove home the winner for wife Desirae. The second Cardinal division went to Fox Valley Ren (1:53.0) as he held off a game He'zzz A Wise Sky for driver Kyle Wilfong and trainer Nelson Willis. The Violet came after the weather delay as Fox Valley Exploit (1:55.2) was a clear winner for driver/trainer Kyle Husted. The Violet was one of three Husted victories on the card. Earlier in the evening Husted guided Louzotic (1:58.3) to a win via DQ in the open trot. Husted capped a training double with his third driving win of the night as Fox Valley Hijinx (1:52.3) took the tenth race. Kyle Wilfong had the other driving triple on Saturday, winning race three behind Tropical Fruit (1:55.2) and the nightcap with Meadowbrook Glider in 1:57.1. Sunday's action started early with a pair of non-wagering races as two divisions of the Violet for Illinois-bred three-year filly trotters were contested. The first division was won in a game effort by Bee See (2:01.1) for Kyle Husted and Steve Searle. The second division was an upset as Celone Hall (1:58.0) was able to roll by Lous Abigail for Mike Oosting and trainer Mike Brink. The story of the Sunday card was Oosting's driving as he guided five horses to the winner's circle. After his non-wagering score with Celone Hall, Oosting took the Phil Georgeff series final with Frontier Rollo (1:51.0) for trainer Tom Simmons. He was back two races later with his second win for Mike Brink, this time with Gm Patty Lin (1:57.4) in the Daryl Busse Trot Final. Mike's fourth win on the night was Mike Brink's third training victory, coming in the Cardinal for Illinois-bred three-year-old male trotters as Crooked Creek (1:57.4) rallied for the victory. Oosting's fifth Sunday score was trainer Steve Searle's second as Coming Up (1:54.3) took race 12. Sunday also saw a near track record performance as aged mare Tempus Seelster paced a strong 1:50.3 mile in the filly and mare open for driver Travis Seekman and trainer Rob Rittof. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday, September 20. Post time nightly is 7:10 PM. Hawthorne races live during the summer harness meet every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 2 through December 26. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. Jim Miller

Altamont, Illinois' Kyle Husted continued a sustained comeback in his career as a harness racing driver last weekend in Chicago, Illinois, scoring five wins at Hawthorne Racecourse in the span of 48 hours. Husted, who underwent reconstructive knee surgery in January, got things started with a victory on Saturday in the $10,000 Open Trot with Louzotic (Lou`s Legacy - Fox Valley Lexus - Vaporize), before capturing the $45,000 Violet Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies with Fox Valley Exploit (Sportsmaster - She Likes It All - The Big Dog). He closed Saturday’s card with a victory behind 13-1 outsider Fox Valley Hijinx (Yankee Skyscaper - Kimmy - Western Hanover), before returning on Sunday to win the $21,000 division of the Violet Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies with Bee See (Cassis - Lovin You Forever - Credit Winner). Husted’s most satisfying win might have been one which came later on the Sunday program, when he scored at odds of 15-1 with Dune Dane (Duneside Perch - Dixie Dame - Jate Lobell). The winning pacer was bred by Fair Meadow Farm of Altamont, where Husted’s mother, Pamela Coleman, serves as farm manager. Effingham, Illinois’ Darla Martin Lohman also enjoyed success at Hawthorne, training 37-1 longshot Ashlees Spur (Ashlee`s Big Guy - Sharon Spur - Sharky Spur) to a third-place finish behind Fox Valley Exploit (Sportsmaster - She Likes It All - The Big Dog) in the Violet Stakes. The pacing filly is owned by Dean Debolt of Iuka, Illinois, and Scott Durbin of Dalton City, Illinois. Other horses with local and area connections to hit the board in recent action at Hawthorne include Sirius Speedway (Sagebrush - Greedy - Precious Bunny), who was runner-up Sunday evening by a head as the 7-5 favorite for owner Jon Huddleston of Mattoon, Illinois, and Fox Valley Lolo (Sportsmaster - Fox Valley Flora - Yankee Skyscaper), who was third in the $12,000 Walter Paisley Final on Saturday for owner Cathy Finn-Kanitz of Olney, Illinois. Still others include Princess Poprocks (Yankee Valor - Mom`s Princess - Victory Sam), third in a $21,000 Violet division on Sunday evening for owners Toni and Keli Bell of Windsor, Illinois, and Desert Sheik (Pizzazzed - Armbro Bahrain - King Conch), who was fourth in the $45,000 Cardinal Stakes for three-year-old trotters Sunday night for a partnership which includes Dean Biggs of Altamont, Illinois. (Submitted by Kurt Becker - Altamont, Illinois, Disseminated by The Horseman's Voice)

(Mt. Sterling, Illinois)--Graduates of the Illinois Classic Yearling Sale have continued an active late-spring campaign, combining to win ten stakes races in the span of four days (June 13-16), including a sweep of both divisions of the opening leg of the Erwin Dygert Series for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings at Hawthorne Racecourse in Stickney, Illinois. Desert Sheik and Fox Valley Kobe, both gelded sons of Pizzazzed and both bred and sold by Fox Valley Standardbreds, finished 1-2 in the opening division of the Dygert Sunday evening in 1:59, while Fox Valley Quest (Pizzazzed) won the second division over fellow sales graduate On Higher Ground (Cassis) in 1:57.4. Fox Valley Quest was also bred and sold by the Fox Valley crew, while On Higher Ground came from the consignment of K.E.M. Standardbreds. The four trotters have earned a combined $221,000 in their careers, after being purchased for a combined total of $53,000. Desert Sheik races for owners Mark Brown, Dean Biggs, and trainer Mike Brink, while Fox Valley Kobe is owned by trainer Jim Eaton, Michael Brown, and the Estate of F. Phillip Langley. Carl Lacy and Benita Simmons share ownership in Fox Valley Quest, who is trained by Tom Simmons, with All-Wright Racing and trainer Mike Brink the co-owners of On Higher Ground. On Saturday at Hawthorne, sales grads Fox Valley Ren and Fox Valley Exploit had gotten things started for breeder-consignor Fox Valley Standardbreds, winning legs of the Robert Carey Jr. Memorial and the Plum Peachy, respectively, in 1:53.3 and 1:55. Both are offspring of Sportsmaster, and the two have accumulated $186,000 in earnings, following a combined purchase price of $65,000. The former races for Megan Rogers Racing Stables Inc. and trainer Nelson Willis, while the latter campaigns for owners David Brigham and Kyle Husted, with Husted also the trainer-driver. Sign Her Up (Sagebrush), a $3000 sales alumnus bred and sold by Fair Meadow Farm, was runner-up to Fox Valley Exploit and now boasts career earnings of $70,000 for owners R.B. Roper and Fabian Johnson and trainer Charles Arthur. In other Saturday action, Amazon Princess nabbed a leg of the David Magee Series in 1:57.4 for owners Michael Anthony Stable, David and Joseph McCaffrey, and Clark Fairley. Trained by Fairley, the daughter of Party At Artsplace won for the first time in eight career starts, justifying her $10,000 purchase price from the consignment of Jeffers Farm and breeders Mary Lea Jeffers and Adele Jeffers Everett. Fox Valley Extacy and Fox Valley Lush capped a busy weekend for Fox Valley-breds at Hawthorne Sunday evening, finishing 1-2 in a leg of the Beulah Dygert Series for three-year-old trotting fillies, in 1:59.2. The two daughters of Pizzazzed, both graduates of the 2018 Illini Classic, have combined for more than $50,000 in earnings. Fox Valley Extacy races for owners Kevin Miller, Ryan and Bert Hochsprung, and David Falzone, while Fox Valley Lush is owned by Robert Silberberg, John R. Schwarz Jr., trainer Jim Eaton, and the F. Phillip Langley Estate. Illini Classic graduates added another four victories during Tuesday’s program of county fair stakes racing at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, led by Super Park with the fastest mile of the day, in 1:54.2. Trained by Nick Prather for owners Cole and Connor Prather and George Pollock, the gelded son of Duneside Perch was bred and sold by Fair Meadow Farm. BC’s Tufftiger, bred and sold by Larry (Brad) Price, upped his record to 3-for-3, taking a division of the two-year-old colt and gelding pace in 1:57.1 by 15 lengths. The gelded son of Walker Place is trained by Roshun Trigg for owner Jeremy Cavitt. Western Perch, owned by Douglas Bowen, Alan Bowen, and Troy Markert, copped a division of the three-year-old colt and gelding pace, as the altered son of Duneside Perch stopped the timer in 1:58. Alan Bowen serves as trainer, having purchased Western Perch from the consignment of breeder Fair Meadow Farm in 2018. Shady Maple Spirit added his name to the list of winning sales grads on the afternoon, as the son of Yankee Valor captured a division of the two-year-old colt and gelding trot in 2:05 by 14 lengths for owners Dennis Gardner and Dustin Fitch. Trained and driven by Gardner, Shady Maple Spirit sold at last year’s Illini Classic for $8,000 from the consignment of Farrier’s Acres as agent for Freeman Mast, with Kenneth Chupp as breeder. ........................................................... (Effingham, Illinois) -- Harness horses with local and area connections have continued to do well across the state in recent days, led by a pair of stakes wins last weekend at Hawthorne Race Course near Chicago, Illinois. Fox Valley Exploit, a three-year-old pacing filly from the barn of owner-trainer-driver Kyle Husted of Altamont, Illinois, won a leg of the Plum Peachy Series last Saturday night in 1:55. Co-owned by David Brigham of Concord, Michigan, Fox Valley Exploit has notched $100,000 in career earnings, after being purchased by Husted for $22,000 as a yearling. Also reaching the winner's circle at Hawthorne Race Course was Desert Sheik, who won a leg of Sunday's Erwin Dygert series for three-year-old trotters in 1:59 for co-owner Dean Biggs of Altamont, Illinois. Trained by co-owner Mike Brink, Desert Sheik has won $66,000 in his lifetime, after being purchased as a yearling by Biggs for $12,000. Mark Brown of Chatham, Illinois, also owns an interest in the horse. Easy E O, owned by Chuck Doehring of Brownstown and trained by Charleston's Jill Brown, finished third behind Desert Sheik. On Tuesday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds - Illinois Dept. Of Agriculture in Springfield, Illinois, BBR Lady upped her record to three wins in as many starts, capturing the Illinois Fair Stakes two-year-old filly trot for owners Elizabeth Roedl of Edgewood, Illinois, and Freddie Patton Jr. of Clinton, Mississippi . BBR Lady led all the way and won by four lengths. In the following race, Emsroscopcoletrain took runner-up honors in a division of the two-year-old colt and gelding trot for owner Jacob Roedl of Edgewood, Illinois. Other horses recording top-three finishes included Clearly The Bomb, who was third in the two-year-old filly pace for owner-trainer-driver Angie Coleman, formerly of Altamont, Illinois, and TE's Smoothas Silk, who finished third in the sophomore filly pace for owner T.E. Harre Jr., formerly of Brownstown, Illinois. ...........................................................   (Newton, Illinois)--A horse with Newton, Illinois, connections pulled a 70-1 shocker in the opening race Tuesday night at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, Indiana, as Phabaj (pronounced FAH buh) won a $10,000 leg of the Jera Larkins Memorial for driver Jared Finn.   Owned by Finn Racing LLC and trained by Jared's father, Jd Finn, Phabaj returned $142 on a $2 win ticket in her first start in more than seven months. The three-year-old trotting filly went the one-mile distance in 1:56.1, as she bumped her career bankroll to $33,000 in 14 starts.   The Finn Stable also sent 11-1 outsider La Nancio to the post in a separate division of the same race, and the filly responded with a runner-up effort despite an eight-month layoff.   Tuesday night's card marked a return to racing for Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing and Casino for the first time since the onset of restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.   The races were contested without spectators in the stands, as wagering was facilitated through online accounts and simulcast locations. (Originally composed by Kurt Becker, Altamont, Illinois, disseminated by The Horseman's Voice)    

STICKNEY, IL - With horsemen eager to get back onto the track, spectator-free harness racing moved into its second week at Hawthorne after a nearly three month break. With a lot of action to pack into a short time, stakes prep action kicked off with the first legs of many of the Night of Champions races. While the 12 race Friday card featured a continuation of series races, it was the open-company feature that stole the show. Marking his return to the track was past Illinois-bred champ Fox Valley Gemini. The Jim Ballinger owned Gemini was impressive in victory, rallying from off the pace for driver Casey Leonard to win in 1:51.2. The Terry Leonard trainee was one of a pair of winners on the Friday card as Trashytonguetalker (1:55.0) was an easy winner in one of the Club Hawthorne mini-series events. That win was Casey's second of the night. Friday's card saw a trio of additional driving doubles as Ridge Warren won the fourth race with Major Hart (1:58.1) and the night's finale behind Rock Steady Ron (1:54.1). Both of the Kyle's won a pair as well as Kyle Husted posted the driver/trainer double, winning race eight with Craftship (1:56.0) and the tenth behind Fox Valley Hijinx (1:55.0). Kyle Wilfong scored in the ninth with Major Legacy (1:54.2) and eleventh with Pacific Stride (1:54.1). The only three-bagger on the Friday card was produced by Mike Oosting. Mike took both ends of the early double, winning the opener with Waymore (1:54.1) followed by Fox Valley Hustler (1:54.1) in race two. Mike was back in the winner's circle in race six as Rockinsweetvictory (1:54.3) won going away. Saturday evening brought about the first of the Night of Champions preps. Illinois-bred three-year-old filly pacers kicked off the festivities in leg one of the Plum Peachy as the Kyle Husted trained and driven Fox Valley Exploit (1:55.0) was a game winner, catching Sign Her Up in the shadow of the wire. Leg one of the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial for Illinois-bred three-year-old colt and gelding pacers went as the fifth race on the Saturday card. The outside post was too much for last year's Night of Champions winner to overcome as He'zzz a Wise Sky was a game second behind Fox Valley Ren. Fox Valley Ren (1:53.3) was driven by Kyle Wilfong for trainer Nelson Willis. Open trotters took to the track in the eighth race Saturday as a Terry Leonard trained exacta took the co-feature. Call For Justice (1:55.4) was just able to hold on for driver Casey Leonard over Ridge Warren and Lindy's Big Bang. The only driving triple on the Saturday card was registered by Ridge Warren. He guided home talented Lousraptor (1:56.4) to an easy win in the night's opener for trainer Steve Searle. Warren was right back at it in race two, winning with Amazon Princess (1:57.4) for Clark Fairley. Warren capped off the evening lighting up the toteboard as Hello Art (1:54.1) came flying in the lane to win at 52-1 for trainer Mike Brink. Sunday evening started early at Hawthorne as a pair of non-wagering evenings saw two divisions of the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial take to the track. The Dygert is for Illinois-bred three-year-old colt and gelding trotters. The first division was won gamely by Desert Sheik (1:59.0) as he battled and held off Fox Valley Kobe for driver Brandon Bates and trainer Mike Brink. The second division of the Dygert went easily to Fox Valley Quest (1:57.4), a winner for Casey Leonard and Tom Simmons. The 13 race pari-mutuel card followed the two non-wagering events as Illinois-bred three-year-old fillies and mares were the focus in leg one of the Beulah Dygert Memorial. A clever drive by Brandon Bates was enough to weave Fox Valley Extacy through traffic in the lane, winning in 1:59.2 over longshot Fox Valley Lush and favored Lous Abigail. Fox Valley Extacy is trained by Hector Herrera. Filly and mare open pacers were the Sunday co-feature as longshots finished one-two. Winning at 14-1 was Black Jack Pat (1:53.3) for driver Tyler Shehan, just catching 18-1 shot This Peach Rocks. In addition to his wins with Desert Sheik and Fox Valley Extacy, driver Brandon Bates made it three on the Sunday card, guiding home Lucky Jewel (1:54.3) in the night's finale, also for trainer Hector Herrera. Mike Oosting capped a strong weekend as he garnered another triple Sunday. He won race three with Frontier Rollo (1:53.), the fourth with Dirt E Rock (1:55.2), and eighth behind Gm Patty Lin (1:59.0). Gm Patty Lin capped the training triple for Mike Brink Sunday. A strong Sunday handle of over $1.2 produced another positive weekend of wagering at Hawthorne as the regular Friday through Sunday schedule continues. Jim Miller

STICKNEY, IL - After a nearly three month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, live harness racing returned to Hawthorne Race Course last weekend. With safety protocols in place for horsemen and staff, spectators not allowed on-site to watch races, and with the time away from the track for many horses, there was some uncertainty as to how entries and handle would be as racing returned. Those questions were answered quickly and emphatically by the Illinois horsemen as two packed days of qualifiers were followed by an overflowing entry box for racing's return. With two days of qualifiers on June 1 and June 3, 29 qualifying races were contested at Hawthorne leading into the racing weekend. With the two-day racing weekend ahead, over 450 horses were entered, leading to a pair of 13 race cards on June 6 and June 7. Full fields were the trend the entire weekend as talented Terror of the Nite (1:55.1) was the first to find his way into the winner's circle for driver Robert Smolin and trainer Kyle Husted. Following an injury last winter, Husted wasted little time making his winning return as a driver, guiding home Adios Amigos (1:55.2) in Saturday's second race. The meet's leading driver, Casey Leonard, drove home back to back winners as Ricky Bobbie (1:54.0) upset favored Rebel Rouser in the fourth race and favored Rock It Out (1:54.3) was an easy winner of the fifth. Race eight featured open pacers and the return of last summer's two-year-old Night of Champions winner He'zzz a Wise Sky. Despite facing older, He'zzz a Wise Sky was patiently handled by Robert Smolin, slipping through late on the inside for the victory in 1:53.1. Smolin would go on to complete the night's only driving triple as he lit up the toteboard in race 12 with 55-1 shot Big Bad Mosa drawing clear. The full fields on Saturday evening also set the tone for a strong night in regards to handle as over $1 million was wagered on the Saturday card. Sunday night brought about more of the same, as full fields, competitive racing, and solid handle figures were on tap once again. A trio of drivers were the story on Sunday evening, a pair who have won many a race in recent years while another had quite the gap between victories. Driver Brandon Bates has made himself known to the Illinois racing fan, coming into town to drive when not racing at Hoosier Park. Bates had himself a nice Sunday night at Hawthorne. He started his evening winning the second race, an open trot, as Pine Dream controlled the pace from start to finish, winning in 1:56.3. Bates was back in the winner's circle in race seven as Skyway Trooper (1:55.0) battled to a victory. Bates closed out his driving triple with a rallying win behind Iceneedswhiskey (1:56.1.) in race 12. Travis Seekman had a nice season in 2019 at Hawthorne and looked sharp in his return after the three month break from racing. Seekman also had a driving triple on Sunday, taking race three with Americanboy (1:54.2). He followed that win up with a score behind Tempus Seelster (1:52.4) in the filly and mare open pace. He capped off the night the right way, winning the finale behind Rollinwithdesire (1:58.0), a homebred for owner/trainer wife Desirae Seekman. The third driving story of the night came in race five. Race five was won by the talented trotter Lous Paisano in 2:00.0. Guiding Lous Paisano to the win was driver Scott Robbins. With over 1,000 lifetime victories and nearly $4 million in earnings, the name Scott Robbins was only familiar to those who followed Illinois harness racing in the 80's and 90's. Prior to Sunday's win, Robbins last pari-mutuel victory had come on September 18, 1998 at Maywood Park. Robbins will be seen much more in the coming weeks as he continues to pick up drives. It was 31 years ago this week (June 14, 1989) that Robbins became the fourth driver to record two dead-heats for win on the same card, at Quad City Downs; J.P. Morel (Saratoga), Harold Stead (Greenwood), and Tom Swift (Batavia) achieved the same feat ("POP" records section of USTA T&P Guide, source).   The last time a driver had two dead-heats to win on one card, at least in the trade press according to my memory, was also at Hawthorne, on January 7, 2018 -- which added a new wrinkle to the category. Casey Leonard guided Mighty Hot Shot to a first-pace tie in the 8th alongside Bestnotlie Hanover, and then in the 10th the camera could not separate the first THREE finishers: Picky Picky Valor (Leonard), Keep The Cash, and Skyway Jaylo -- putting Leonard in the 2 DHs to win on one card category as the sole member of one of those wins including a DH-DH-DH, cross-checking the two known lists. Handle on Sunday was strong as well, falling only a hair shy of $1.5 million. With the strong handle and overflowing entry box, racing returns this weekend to three days per week, racing Friday through Sunday night. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday, September 20. Post time nightly is 7:10 PM. Hawthorne races live during the summer harness meet every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 2 through December 26. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. Jim Miller

June 2, 2020 (Stickney, IL) -- In close coordination with industry stakeholders and government regulators, Hawthorne Race Course will implement stringent new protocols for the return of live horseracing without on-site fans, also known as "studio racing."    Races will be hosted two nights per week on Saturdays and Sundays beginning June 6th.  Live racing was suspended at Hawthorne on March 16th under Governor Pritzker's emergency declaration, however as an agribusiness in the care of animals, essential operations on Hawthorne's backstretch have continued where approximately 450 horses are stabled.    The new protocols require a minimal increase in on-site staffing and strict adherence to social distancing and other health safety guidelines.   "On behalf of the entire industry, we're very thankful to the Governor and the Department of Agriculture for working with us to create a solution that recognizes the unique needs and challenges of horseracing," said Tim Carey, president and general manager of Hawthorne Race Course.  "There are hundreds of small businesses across the state that rely on racing at Hawthorne so this will be a boost for the Illinois economy that will not impede efforts to flatten the curve of the spread of Covid-19."   As race tracks across the country begin to reopen under similar scenarios, Hawthorne will be one of the first tracks to host harness racing.  The new protocols for Standardbred harness racing include (but are not limited to): Pre-race paddocking of horses in open-air barns with additional spacing between stalls Limited access to the paddock by licensed, essential racing personnel only Mandatory temperature checks and facial coverings for all workers and residents in stable area Nightly spray disinfecting of the entire paddock and ship-in barn Expanded quarters for harness drivers to maintain social distancing Separate office space for racing judges, stewards and timers Comprehensive studio racing protocols were developed with approval from The Governor's Office, The Department of Agriculture, The Department of Public Health, The Cook County Department of Health, The Village of Stickney, The Illinois Racing Board, and The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association.  Hawthorne estimates that no more than 25 additional people will be required at the 113-acre facility to conduct live racing as compared to care and training-only operations and that racing will be possible under recommended social distancing guidelines.   "Horsemen are very resilient by nature, but this change comes just in time for our members," said Tony Somone, executive director of the Illinois Harness Horsemen Association.  "On average it costs $1500/month to take care of a racehorse whether it's racing and earning money or not.  Most trainers have between 5 and 10 horses and we haven't been racing for nearly three months so many of these businesses are at a breaking point."   Fans will be able to watch and wager on Hawthorne's races online or through licensed mobile apps, including Club Hawthorne (available in the app store or at  In accordance with Illinois' Phase 3 Reopening Guidelines for non-essential retail businesses, Hawthorne began to offer "bet-and-go" services at the race track as well as at certain suburban off-track facilities beginning on Friday, May 29.     Hawthorne Race Course  

Editor’s Note: USTA director and Hawthorne Race Course’s Director of Publicity, Jim Miller, sent the following letter to the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association this week, explaining the delays in resuming live harness racing in the state of Illinois This will be quite detailed, but here goes. The second week of March was when the Executive Order was put into place by Governor Pritzker. At that time there were a few things stated that indirectly pertained to racing that Hawthorne, Fairmount, and horsemen had to follow. First was in regard to residents and the care for horses. The EO (Executive Order) stated that landlords were not allowed to evict residents during the length of the order. What many don’t know is that Hawthorne has over 500 residents on the backstretch. Of those residents, the vast majority work with the Thoroughbred horses and remain on the grounds of Hawthorne as they await Arlington Park to open their backstretch. Nothing in the order states Arlington cannot open their backstretch but they have chosen not to do so and cannot be forced to open. Second, the order stated that essential work surrounding agriculture was allowed to continue. In Illinois, horse racing and the racing industry falls under the Department of Agriculture. Therefore the daily care, training, and medical operations that take place on the backstretch are allowed to continue and are essential. Please know that at no time during this period has Hawthorne intended on kicking out horses or residents. Here’s where things get bad for our industry unfortunately. In the same EO, while residents, horses, and those who care for the horses remain, Hawthorne Race Course and our OTB locations were deemed as entertainment and not agriculture and were forced to close. These locations are regulated by the state of Illinois and thus are subject to losing their licenses if we disobey the order. During the vast majority of the time we have been shuttered, Hawthorne Race Course held host status as well. Host status is important as this is the mechanism to fund both purses for the horsemen and commissions for the racetrack. Therefore, aside from the ClubHawthorne online app, there has been basically no income for the purses for the horsemen or the racetrack for operations. Thus, we look at a situation where operations are forced to continue at Hawthorne without any income for all involved. For where we are for racing. From the start of this EO, we at Hawthorne have been in constant contact with members of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, the IHHA, ILHBA at Fairmount Park, Fairmount Park management, the RICF, and members of city, county and state departments of Public Health. Since both Hawthorne and Fairmount were racing at the time of the order and want to get back to racing, even without spectators, we have worked in a coordinated effort. What also needs to be understood is that even if we got back to racing, without fans, it is done in a way to provide for the racing industry to survive and have a chance at income. Even if we wagered $3 million a night through ADW, that would barely cover purses and as a racetrack without on-site fans or fans at OTBs, we would be lucky to break even. We understand the importance of purse income to our horsemen though and the need to keep horsemen in business. Three weeks ago the staff of the Governor came to the racetracks, horsemen’s groups, and Illinois Department of Agriculture asking for a plan to be formulated for a safe return to racing. We immediately got to work with all involved on plans that would be implemented with strict safety precautions. Early in this process we received more input from the Governor’s staff on what protocols they would like in place. All of that information is included in our five page plan that was submitted to the Governor three weeks ago. Where we stand now is this, we await an answer from the Governor or his staff. I can tell you that members of the racetracks, members of the horsemen’s associations, and members of the Illinois Department of Agriculture all were told weeks ago that an answer was coming soon. Since that time Tony Somone and Clark Fairley have worked phones on behalf of the IHHA, Jim Watkins is constantly working on behalf of the ILHBA, and our staff and lobbyists are asking daily for any response as well. In recent days the Governor’s staff has not replied. Trust me, we want to get back to racing. We can get back to racing very quickly if allowed. Our protocols are likely more strict than tracks that have continued to race through this pandemic along with tracks that are returning to race. Unfortunately all we can do now is wait for an answer. We cannot jeopardize the loss of a racing license though by disobeying the order. Hopefully this helps and please know representatives of all affected by this are working very hard to get us back to racing as soon as possible. For all of the latest news on the resumption of racing, visit the USTA COVID-19 Resource Center. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

STICKNEY, IL - In consultation with, and approval from the Illinois Racing Board, Hawthorne Race Course will close its public wagering facilities at the harness racing track and all Illinois off-track betting locations to limit the spread of COVID-19. The decision was made in support of Governor Pritzker's mandate that all Illinois bars and dine-in restaurants close on-site operations until March 30th. In cooperation with the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association, Hawthorne will host "studio racing" at its 113-acre facility. Races will be broadcast nationally allowing for mobile, online and retail wagering from venues in other states and around the globe. "Many people think of the race tracks as the only business entities involved in the operation of racing, but the truth is that there are hundreds of small businesses throughout the state owned and operated by Illinois horsemen. While we want the public to be able to enjoy live racing, these are unprecedented times. This option keeps people working in our industry and maintains the fitness and safety of horses while limiting public interaction," said Tim Carey, president and general manager of Hawthorne Race Course. Beginning with the Friday, March 20 racing card (Hawthorne's next scheduled night of racing), only personnel essential to conduct races will be allowed onto the grounds of Hawthorne. Additionally, only licensed personnel will be allowed into the backstretch and paddock area for racing and daily care of horses stabled at Hawthorne. On-site wagering at Hawthorne and Illinois OTBs will close beginning March 17th. Hawthorne will continue to work closely with the Illinois Racing Board, Governor's Office, and Illinois horsemen in keeping with the latest recommendations from the Center for Disease Control regarding business operations during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure the safety of the public. Jim Miller  

STICKNEY, IL - Following a recent FBI investigation which resulted in the indictments of harness trainers Rick Dane, Jr., Nick Surick, Conor Flynn, and Chris Oaks, Hawthorne Race Course is implementing the following policies regarding any horses formerly trained by these indicted trainers: 1. Horses formerly trained by indicted trainers will not be allowed onto the grounds of Hawthorne Race Course until April 15. 2. Following April 15, should a horse formerly trained by an indicted trainer be transferred to another trainer and wish to come onto the grounds of Hawthorne Race Course, the Racing Secretary and Stewards must be notified by the new trainer and receive approval for the horse to enter the grounds. 3. Any horse previously owned by any indicted trainer, or their relatives, will be subject to approval of the Racing Secretary and Stewards before being allowed onto the grounds of Hawthorne Race Course. 4. Upon approval, these horses must be stabled in the surveillance barn at Hawthorne Race Course for the duration of the meet. Any horse that leaves the grounds of Hawthorne from this barn will not be allowed to return. 5. Horses may be examined by state or association veterinarians at any time during their time on the grounds of Hawthorne Race Course. 6. After April 15, those approved horses will remain on the stewards list for 30 days from their arrival date onto the grounds of Hawthorne. They will be ineligible to race during this period. 7. Following the 30 days on the grounds of Hawthorne, horses must test negative for any foreign substances prior to coming off the Stewards list. Horse will then be required to qualify to race. 8. Any violation of these policies will result in a trainer losing their stalls and ability to race at Hawthorne Race Course in the future. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday, September 20. Post time nightly is 7:10 PM. Hawthorne races live during the summer harness meet every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 2 through December 26. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

STICKNEY, IL - Following research into a missed guaranteed pool from the Late Pick 4 on Saturday, March 7, caused by the closing of wagering pools prematurely, Hawthorne Race Course will be honoring the guaranteed $15,000 pool. The guaranteed pools are a part of the USTA Strategic Wagering Program which provides free past performances for the sequences along with promoting all guaranteed wagers. On Saturday's sixth race at Hawthorne, one of the two mechanisms that close the betting pools for the race was triggered nearly four minutes prior to the start of the race. This caused all wagering on race six to close at that time, leaving the Late Pick 4 pool with only $6,055 wagered into it. Initially it was believed that a tote malfunction had occurred, causing the guarantee to be removed from the wager. After further research was conducted, it was determined that the triggering mechanism worked properly and it was human error which was responsible for the closing of the pool. After discussion between Hawthorne management and the Illinois Racing Board, it was determined that the $15,000 guaranteed pool for the Late Pick 4 should be honored. The Late Pick 4 sequence had only one winner, originating out of New Jersey, and that person will be paid the complete payout of $12,723.40, based off of the $15,000 pool. Originally the payout for the sole winner was $5,136.90 but the difference will be made up to the winner. "The right thing to do is to pay the winner the amount based off of our guarantee," stated Hawthorne Assistant General Manager John Walsh. "We take pride in publicizing these wagers and guaranteed pools to our customer. In this situation it is truly unfortunate as with the Late Pick 4 wager, the vast majority of handle comes in the final minute leading up to the race. With the closing of the windows being triggered nearly four minutes prior to the start of the race, handle on the entire race took a major hit. We will work to educate staff and make sure this does not happen again in the future." Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and races through Sunday, September 20. Post time nightly is 7:10 PM. Hawthorne races live during the summer harness meet every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 2 through December 26. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course  

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