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STICKNEY, IL - Following the conclusion of the spring thoroughbred season at Hawthorne Race Course, the track crew embarked once again on the surface conversion. As the only pari-mutuel track left in the United States to convert from a dirt thoroughbred surface to a limestone harness track, crews worked tirelessly stripping off dirt, removing rails, clearing barns and prepping the new surface, all in 96 hours, to prepare for the start of the summer harness racing season. Everything was prepped in time for horsemen to arrive on Saturday, May 1 as the summer harness season kicked off on Friday, May 7. When racing commenced on opening night, driver Kyle Wilfong was ready to pounce. Wilfong kicked off the racing season winning the meet opener behind Surreal Art (1:53.0) for trainer Perry Smith. That victory started a string of four straight trips to the winner's circle for Wilfong as he drove home Nora Tova (1:55.3), Wildcat Delight (1:55.1) and Castle Flight (1:52.0) to wins in races two through four. SURREAL ART REPLAY   Wilfong made it five victories on the opening night card as RSVP trotted home in 1:58.2 for trainer Nicole Agosti to take race eight. The weekend saw the return of some of the top Illinois-breds to the track as they did not disappoint. A pair of Illinois-bred champs faced off in Saturday's open pace as Fox Valley Gemini (1:50.4) just caught a very game He'zzz A Wise Sky, who battled every step of the way. Owned by Jim Ballinger, trained by Terry Leonard and driven by Casey Leonard, Fox Valley Gemini won for the 41st time from 62 career starts, surpassing half a million in career earnings. Casey and Terry Leonard teamed up later on the card as Cracklin Rosie (1:57.0) won race nine. FOX VALLEY GEMINI REPLAY   Todd Warren won a pair of races on Saturday, grabbing the filly and mare open pace with Maggie Rhee (1:54.1), a mare he also trains, as well as driving trotter Lucky Valerie (2:00.0) to her first career win for trainer Gerald Hansen. Kyle Wilfong grabbed his sixth victory of the racing weekend as rambunctious Crankin' It Up (pictured) made it two weekend wins for trainer Nicole Agosti, pacing home in the Saturday evening slop in 1:56.2. On Sunday some of the top Illinois-bred trotters made their season debut. Kicking off the evening trainer Steve Searle had a pair face off as Lousraptor (1:57.1) got the best of Louscardamon for driver Juan Franco, winning by a length and a half. Later in the evening driver Kyle Husted reunited with Louzotic as they took race seven in 1:58.3, the second training victory on the card for Searle. Driving doubles on the Sunday card came from Todd Warren, Ridge Warren, Atlee Bender and Kyle Wilfong. Wilfong's pair of winners boosted him to eight for opening weekend. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, races three meets in 2021. The spring thoroughbred meet concluded on April 25. The summer Suburban Downs at Hawthorne harness meet began on Friday, May 7 and races every Friday-Sunday through September 26. The fall thoroughbred meet opens October 1 and races through December 26. First post nightly for harness is 7:10 PM. For any information about Hawthorne Race Course visit the website For full race results, click here. by Jim MIller, for Hawthorne Race Course

Stickney, IL  -- On Friday, May 7th Standardbred race horses will return to the harness racing track at Hawthorne Race Course for a summer of live harness racing.  “Chicago’s hometown track” will host racing every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night beginning at 7PM.  Capacity is currently limited to 50%, but now includes expanded outdoor seating in the new First Turn Terrace. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand for live sports entertainment and with harness racing you can get so close to the action,” said Tim Carey, president and general manager of Hawthorne Race Course.  “The view from the new First Turn Terrace is amazing because the horses are coming right at you and then go spinning away through the turn.” In addition to the trackside views, the outdoor space, including along the railing, provides for easy social distancing and pod seating at picnic tables.  Night racing at Hawthorne also features outdoor barbecue and bars. Founded in 1891, Hawthorne is celebrating its 130th year of live racing.  Harness racing first debuted at Hawthorne in 1970 and the track is now the only one in the United States to host both thoroughbred and Standardbred horses.  In harness racing, drivers--as opposed to jockeys--sit in a chariot-style cart called a sulky that is pulled by the horse, reaching speeds of up to 30 miles per hour in tightly packed groups of up to 10 horses.  Hawthorne features the longest homestretch in North America for harness racing allowing drivers and horses to rally late in come-from-behind victories. Admission and parking is free at Hawthorne Race Course. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Raceway

March 15, 2021 (Stickney, IL) -- Just in time for college basketball madness, Hawthorne Race Course and PointsBet are opening their third brick-and-mortar premium sportsbook. The PointsBet Sportsbook at Club Hawthorne in north suburban Prospect Heights is the partners' second standalone (non-casino, off-track) venue, following the opening of the PointsBet Sportsbook at Club Hawthorne in south suburban Crestwood in January.   The venue features: Cash wagering via self-serve kiosks or betting concierge on sports and horseracing Cash deposits and withdrawals for customers mobile wagering accounts 100 TVs A newly remodeled restaurant with a 100 foot wrap-around bar Two all-weather outdoor patios A beer garden Free, curbside parking   "This is one of the best times of the year for sports wagering with college basketball madness and Kentucky Derby prep races every weekend, so we're very excited to open another premium sportsbook with PointsBet," said Tim Carey, president and CEO of Hawthorne Race Course.   Illinois law allows for sportsbook operators that are partnered with race tracks to open up to three off-track sportsbooks. The PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne Race Course previously opened in September.   "One of the big appeals about partnering with Hawthorne is that they are a legacy sports business in Chicago with 130 years of service to bettors with the largest network of off-track wagering venues in Illinois," said Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet USA. "We now offer the best in-person sports betting experience at three locations as a complement to our premium mobile wagering platform, which is the fastest in the world."   All PointsBet Sportsbooks at Club Hawthorne and Hawthorne Race Course will feature exclusive retail-only betting promotions and sweepstakes, beginning with a FREE $10,000 bracket challenge for the college basketball tournament and a sweepstakes to win a FREE 65" TV. Reservations for gametime seating is highly recommended for all venues.   The PointsBet Sportsbook at Club Hawthorne in Prospect Heights is located at the corner of Milwaukee and Des Plaines River Road (1250 River Road).   From Hawthorne Race Course  

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois - Super Bowl champion linebacker Devin White has an unlikely connection to Illinois since he recently purchased three Standardbred horses with plans to race them in the Prairie State. The Buccaneers star linebacker made headlines last week when he took a Standardbred horse for a victory lap around Raymond James Stadium while holding the Lombardi Trophy. White co-owns his three Illinois-bred harness racing horses with his friend Adam Hawthorne.   To watch video, click here. "Devin is really excited to get into the business," said Hawthorne. "This is his first time getting involved in horse racing and we plan to buy more Illinois-bred horses next year. Illinois is my favorite state to race in, bar none." The names of the horses White and Hawthorne purchased are First and Goal, Timber Creek Molly, and Creations Dream MV. The owners plan to keep them stabled in Louisiana during the winter where trainer Herman Wheeler will work with them. This spring, Wheeler will move the horses to compete in Illinois. "Illinois harness racing is on the verge of an incredible comeback," said Illinois Harness Horseman's Association President Clark Fairley. "Buying an Illinois-bred horse is a great investment right now. We can now say that anyone who gets into the business has an opportunity to be successful." If all goes well, White's horses will compete on the Illinois' county fair circuit in early summer as they prepare for bigger purses at Hawthorne Racecourse near Chicago later in the year. There are a variety of incentives for owners to buy and race Illinois-bred horses in the Land of Lincoln. Because of the recently passed "racino" bill, Illinois-bred horses will be racing for larger purses and better racing opportunities in the years to come. Ed Teefey runs the Illini Classic Sales at the Springfield State Fairgrounds where White and Hawthorne purchased their horses. Teefey is optimistic about the future of harness racing. "You have to be optimistic in this business," said Teefey. "Illinois-bred horses are a great value right now. Illinois isn't flooded with horses the way some other states are and there are lots of good racing opportunities. Combined with the new revenue from casino gaming, it's a good time to buy a racehorse here." Teefey said that the number of foals born in 2020 was 354, up from 144 born in 2018. And while that's a far cry from the peak of 2,535 horses born in 1984, it's solid growth that can be built on.   Illinois was once the premier harness racing state in the nation hosting the prestigious Hambletonian at the DuQuoin racetrack. Years of disinvestment by the state led to the near collapse of an industry that at its peak employed nearly 40,000 people. That all changed when racetracks in Illinois were allowed to compete with land-based casinos by adding table games and slot machines to racetracks in 2019. Once those racinos are up and running, the money that they generate will be invested into purse winnings. Horse breeding is labor intensive and it has taken decades to establish a program in Illinois. Illinois horse breeding farms create many agricultural jobs, and the economic ripples are felt throughout the state from grain and hay farmers, to blacksmiths, grooms, and equipment dealers. "We're looking forward to growing the sport again in Illinois," said Fairley. "A new racetrack is expected to be built within the next few years which will allow us to race more days and purses should continue to increase as well. I'm hopeful." From Mack Communications

January 26, 2021 (Stickney, IL) -- As Covid mitigation guidelines continue to ease, allowing for casinos to resume operations, Hawthorne Race Course and PointsBet have been approved by the Illinois Gaming Board to open the State’s first off-track and non-casino sportsbook beginning on Wednesday, January 27th.    The newly remodeled Club Hawthorne in suburban Crestwood is part of Hawthorne’s off-tracking betting (OTB) network, and is the first of three such OTB locations that will open under Illinois’ sports betting law. The PointsBet Sportsbook at Hawthorne Race Course previously opened in September -- the first race track sportsbook in Illinois, and the closest sportsbook to downtown Chicago.   “Hawthorne is the only gaming company in the Chicagoland area that is able to open sportsbooks at off-track and non-casino locations, so this is an opportunity on which we focused a lot of energy and investment,” said Tim Carey, president and CEO of Hawthorne Race Course. “We completely remodeled the space to create the best sports viewing and sports betting destination in the State.”   The PointsBet Sportsbook at Club Hawthorne in Crestwood features a 163” Hero LED Video Wall and twenty-four 75” TVs bookending the viewing area, and a fully integrated, state-of-the-art sound system to create an arena-like experience. There are six self-service kiosks and five betting clerk stations, which are socially distanced and separated by plexiglass barriers. The venue features curbside parking and space for up to 500 people (when at full capacity post-COVID) with leather captain’s chairs, small group couches and highboy tables.     “As sports fans we all love the game, love the action, but we also love experiencing it with other fans,” said Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet USA. “The unique opportunity to open a new-style of standalone sportsbooks with Hawthorne required us to develop something that would match the best-in-class customer experience that PointsBet provides on our mobile platform. This isn’t just the best sportsbook in Chicago, it’s the best sports bar too.” The PointsBet Sportsbook at Club Hawthorne will also feature exclusive retail-only betting promotions and sweepstakes. Current health safety protocols provide for limited seating capacity which will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis; however bet-and-go services for cash wagering are available. The sportsbook will open from 12PM-10PM on weekdays and 10AM-10PM on weekends.   Hawthorne Race Course

STICKNEY, IL - The best in the state of Illinois gathered on closing weekend as 11 harness racing stakes races were contested on Hawthorne Race Course's Night of Champions. The Hawthorne meet faced its challenges as it opened on February 15 and raced for four weeks before being halted due to the pandemic. After a two and a half month break, guidelines were implemented for a safe return to racing on June 6. Despite spectators not being allowed on-track, added interest in racing through ADW outlets and additional races added led to a 34% increase in average daily handle compared to 2019. The summer meet was capped with great performances on Night of Champions as the best in the state competed for nearly $1 million in purses. A look back at the Night of Champions finals: THE $68,000 ROBERT S MOLARO MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP Jim Ballinger's Fox Valley Gemini did it again. For the second year in a row, Fox Valley Gemini, trained by Terry Leonard, won the Robert S Molaro Memorial Championship for 3-year-old and up pacers. Guided to the winner's circle by Casey Leonard, the meet's leading driver with 130 victories, Fox Valley Gemini tracked pacesetting Al's Hammered through the first three quarters but assumed control approaching the far turn and drew off to a five and a quarter length victory. Al's Hammered held for second, narrowly holding off Bass Player. Fox Valley Gemini, bred by Fox Valley Standardbreds, got the mile in 150.1 after fractions of :27.4, :55.3 and 1:23. He paid $2.20 to win.   With the $34,000 earned for the victory, Fox Valley Gemini's career earnings stand at $485,468. THE $88,000 FOX VALLEY FLAN CHAMPIONSHIP Loulita, the 1-9 favorite, left little to doubt in her easy victory in Saturday's Fox Valley Flan Championship for ICF 2-year-old filly trotters. Driven by Casey Leonard and trained by Steven Searle, this talented filly won for the sixth time in nine starts. Bred by Flacco Family Farms and owned by Flacco Family Farms and Dr. Patrick Graham, Loulita raced in third early but took the lead midway on the backstretch and was never challenged after that; ultimately winning by four lengths. Myonly Sin came on late to finish second with Breeze At Sunset getting up for third. After fractions of :30.0, 1:00.1, and 1:29.4 Loulita got the mile in a lifetime best of 1:59.2. Loulita earned $44,000 for the victory, boosting her lifetime earnings to $93,609. She paid $2.20 to win THE $80,000 INCREDIBLE TILLIE CHAMPIONSHIP The Incredible Tillie Championship, for ICF 2-year-old filly pacers, provided one of the few surprises on The Night of Champions. Bootsy Bombay, though not a real "surprise" did go off as the third choice in the wagering. Despite starting from post 10, Bootsy Bombay went right for the lead, relinquished it on the backstretch but never dropped further back than second. She reclaimed the lead late to win by three quarters. Favored Scorecard Dandy got second while it was another length and a quarter back to Princess Mooss. Owned by James Greer, trained by Nick Prather and driven by Travis Seekman, Bootsy Bombay, bred by Fair Meadow Farm, generated a new lifetime best 1:56.2 after fractions of :29.3, :58.3 and 1:27.2. She paid $12.40 to win. For the victory, the second of her young career, she earned $40,000. Her earnings now stand at $60,403. THE $67,000 PLESAC CHAMPIONSHIP Owner and breeder Flacco Family Farms LLC and trainer Steve Searle wasted little time finding themselves back in the winner's circle as two races after Loutlita scored for them, it was Lousraptor pulling off the upset in the Plesac for ICF aged trotters. Driven by Juan Franco, Lousraptor sat mid-pack early as favored Annas Lucky Star carved out the fractions. Rallying through the stretch, Lousraptor blew by the competition winning by nearly three lengths. Searle trained longshot Louscardamon closed to finish second at 25-1 while 36-1 Cruzen Cassi came on late to finish third. After chasing fractions of :27.3, :57.1, and 1:26.2, Lousraptor won in 1:54.3. The four-year-old gelding earned $33,500 for his victory. He paid $7.40 to win. THE $98,000 BEULAH DYGERT MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP Another race with another slight upset as 7-2 third choice El oh Govner was able to score in the Beulah Dygert Memorial trot for ICF three-year-old fillies. With Marcus Miller in town to drive, El Oh Govner rated off the pace which was set by 3-5 favorite Lous Abigail. Tipping out in the turn, El Oh Govner was able to sustain her rally, winning by a length and a quarter. 51-1 longshot Celone Hall got up for second while Bee See was game in finishing third. Owned by Donald and Sharri Huddleston, bred by Elmer Kaufman and trained by Mike Rogers, El Oh Govner chased fractions of :29.1, :58.2, and 1:28.0 before winning in 1:57.4. He earned $49,000 for his win and paid $9.60. Marcus Miller, El Oh Govner, "Mike (Rogers) told me that she was going to be really good tonight if I could just work out a clean trip and have a lane in the stretch and he was spot on. I wanted to get away somewhat close and just give her a rattle. It worked out just the way I was hoping. As soon as we straightened out, she stepped off on her own and I was pretty confident, she did the rest." THE $109,000 ERWIN F. DYGERT MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP Leading driver Casey Leonard was back in the winner's circle for his third time on the Night of Champions card as he guided Fox Valley Quest to a wire to wire victory in the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial trot for ICF three-year-old males. Leaving for the lead as the 3-2 second choice, Fox Valley Quest led every step, winning by a length and a half over 4-5 favorite Crooked Creek. On Higher Ground closed to finish third. Bred by Fox Valley Standardbreds, owned by Carl Lacy and Benita Simmons and trained by Tom Simmons, Fox Valley Quest won with fractions of :29.2, :58.2, 1:26.4 and 1:55.0. He earned $54,500 for his victory and paid $5.00 to win. THE $118,000 KADABRA CHAMPIONSHIP Making just four lifetime starts and winning for the first time in his career the week prior, Fistfullofdollars impressed in his Kadabra win, for ICF male juvenile trotters. Trained by the meet's leading trainer Mike Brink, who won 48 races, Fistfullofdollars sat behind the pace which was set by longshots Loyz Say When and Mystical Murray. He cruised by in the stretch to win by three and a half lengths. Kyle Wilfong, who finished second in the driver standings with 120 wins on the meet, guided Fistfullofdollars to the winning score. Mystical Murray finished second at 25-1 while 13-1 shot Loyz Say When held third. Fistfullofdollars was bred by Flacco Family Farms and is owned in partnership by Mike Brink, Darin Tournear, Jeffrey Clauson, and Mark Brown. He earned $59,000 for his victory. After chasing fractions of :30.1, 1:00.4, and 1:31.4, Fistfullofdollars won in 2:01.3. He paid $6.40 to win. Trainer Mike Brink on Fistfullofdollars, "He had an injury early, it happened in his stall, and we kind of had to wait on him. He was a nice horse before that happened. It was a freak accident, but we just had to wait on him. I wasn't even sure if we could make it. The horse has a lot of talent and he's smart. I told Kyle last week to just tighten him up, get a better feel of him and make him trot a little faster. He did and it worked out fine." When asked about how he handled the break due to the pandemic with a large stable, "It has been confusing. We had things ready to go when we shut down and had to back everything back down. We had to back the babies back down. And we didn't really know when we were going to get started back up again. Because of the help, the blacksmith and everybody's patience, we waited until the time was right, started back up and it's been working out." THE $71,000 INCREDIBLE FINALE CHAMPIONSHIP Driver Marcus Miller made his trip to Chicago more than worthwhile, grabbing his second win on the card, this time with Erv Miller trained Well Basically. The 4-5 favorite in the Incredible Finale for ICF two-year-old male pacers, Well Basically went right to the top and never looked back, winning by two and a quarter lengths. Frontier Charley rallied from his outside draw to finish second while Partyatmosasplace was third. Bred in partnership by William Hook and Chicago Ag High School and owned by Anthony Lombardi and Engel Stable of IL LLC, Well Basically won through fractions of :29.2, :59.4, 1:29.0 and 1:56.1. He earned $35,500 for the score. He paid $3.80 to win. THE $86,000 ROBERT F CAREY JR. MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP The heaviest favorite of the night didn't disappoint as 1-9 shot He'zzz A Wise Sky won on Night of Champions for the second straight year, taking the Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial for ICF three-year-old male pacers. Driven once again by Robert Smolin, He'zzz A Wise Sky immediately cleared the lead and won easily by three and a quarter lengths. Western Perch was a game second, chasing the entire way, while Ryans Ambassador closed to finish third. Owned by Triple Zzz Stable and bred in partnership by trainer Don Filomeno along with Joann Filomeno, He'zzz A Wise Sky earned $43,000 for the win. He set fractions of :28.2, :57,1, and 1:24.4 while winning in 1:51.3. He paid $2.20 to win. THE $108,000 PLUM PEACHY CHAMPIONSHIP The meet's leading winner of races with eight victories from nine starts for $121,880 on the meet was Fox Valley Exploit for owners David Brigham and Kyle Husted. Trained and driven by Husted, Fox Valley Exploit had to work in the Plum Peachy for three-year-old filly pacers after drawing post nine. Confidently handled by Husted, the even money favorite was kept in the clear, opening up into the lane and winning by a comfortable two and three quarters lengths. Harper raced well to finish second while 111-1 shot Castielle held third. Bred by Fox Valley Standardbreds, Fox Valley Exploit chased early fractions of :28.1 and :57.0 before taking over and passing three quarters in 1:25.0 before crossing the wire in 1:53.2. She earned $54,000 for her victory and paid $4.00 to win. THE $68,000 TONY MAURELLO MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP The final race on the Night of Champions card saw a strong performance as breeder Fox Valley Standardbreds capped a fine night as Allbeastnobeauty scored in the Maurello for aged female pacers. Driven and trained by Todd Warren, Allbeastnobeauty settled behind a contested early pace before closing swiftly in the stretch to win by two lengths. Lilly Von Shtupp stalked the pace and held second, followed by last year's Maurello winner Skeeter Machine, who was a game third. Owned by Brookside Stables and Keith Ravis, Allbeastnobeauty chased fractions of :28.0, :55.2, and 1:24.2 before winning 1:51.2. She earned $34,000 for her victory. She paid $3.20 to win. Hawthorne Race Course, Chicago's Hometown Track, returned for live harness racing on Saturday, February 15 and raced through Sunday, September 20. Fall thoroughbreds close out the year, running from October 2 through December 27. For more information, visit or contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

Stickney, IL - The best in the state of Illinois will be on the track Saturday as 11 stakes races will be contested for Night of Champions at Hawthorne Race Course. Although temps are expected to be cool, conditions look to be dry on Saturday as many divisional honors are on the line. Last week sports wagering kicked off with the partnership between PointsBet and Hawthorne Race Course. While online sports wagering has begun, the on-site sportsbook is expected to open very soon. To celebrate, PointsBet has sponsored an extra $20,000 in purse money for each of the three finals for older horses. "Horse racing and sports betting really go hand-in-hand," stated Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet USA. "Our sponsorship will add purse money that not only supports Illinois horsemen but showcases our partnership with Hawthorne and engages new fans who already enjoyed wagering on live sports, whether that's a race or a football game." Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association Executive Director Tony Somone added, "I think Hawthorne's choice to partner with PointsBet for sports betting in Illinois demonstrates the track's continued commitment to racing and the hard-working horsemen of Illinois. Horse racing is the original sports betting after all, and this sponsorship adds even more excitement to the competition on the track." Race 2 - $68,000 PointsBet & Club Hawthorne Robert S. Molaro Memorial Championship With the great partnership between PointsBet and Hawthorne, an additional $20,000 in purse money has been added to the Robert S. Molaro Memorial. The Molaro Memorial is for three-year-old and up pacers and drew a full field, led by past Illinois Champion Fox Valley Gemini. Drawing post eight, Fox Valley Gemini has won 38 of 54 lifetime starts for over $450k in earnings for owner Jim Ballinger and trainer Terry Leonard. Driven by the meet's leading driver Casey Leonard, Gemini has won eight times on the year, hitting the board in all 12 of his starts. Fox Valley Gemini is the 6-5 morning line favorite. Second choice in the Molaro Memorial at 9-2 is Salvatore from the barn of Perry Smith. Claimed just two starts back, Salvatore has been very good on the year as well, winning five times from 15 starts and finishing in the top three in 11 of those races. Travis Seekman drives Salvatore who drew post three. Last week's Molaro elimination winner drew the rail as Al's Hammered starts for owner/trainer/driver Robert Smolin. Lightly raced with only seven starts on the year, Al's Hammered posted a year's best mark for himself, winning in 1:52.2 last week. Race 3 - $88,000 Fox Valley Flan Championship Two-year-old filly trotters follow in the Fox Valley Flan as trainer Steve Searle looks to dominate the race. Searle has four horses in the final, drawing post positions two through five. Leading the way at 4-5 for Searle is Loulita for owners Flacco Family Farms LLC and Dr. Patrick Graham. After getting off to a bit of a slow start on the year, Loulita has rattled off five straight wins, taking the final leg of this series last weekend in a new lifetime mark of 2:01. Casey Leonard gets the call as Loulita drew post four. Right next to Loulita, drawing post five, is the Searle entrant poised to upset in Lous Voodoo Woman. Owned by Steven Renard, Lous Voodoo Woman has made more starts by a large margin than any other in the field, starting 19 times on the year. A winner of seven of those starts, Lous Voodoo Woman has speed has driver Kyle Wilfong will look to try to steal the race on the front end with her. Race 4 - $80,000 Incredible Tillie Championship Two-year-old filly pacers contest the Incredible Tillie in one of the night's more wide-open finals. The 8-5 morning line favorite is Scorecard Dandy for owners Green Acres LLC and Mike Klimas for trainer Gregory Kain. Driven by Juan Franco and drawing post four, Scorecard Dandy has won three of seven starts on the year. Her most recent race was her best, as she took the final leg of this series last week, rallying to win in 1:55.3. Right next to Scorecard Dandy in post three is 3-1 second-choice Princess Mooss. Although only posting one win on the year for owner Alan Beals and trainer Gary Rath, Princess Mooss has finished in the top three in eight of nine starts, including each of her last four races. Kyle Wilfong gets the drive for Princess Mooss. Possibly overlooked in the Trackmaster morning line at 8-1, Connie On the Go draws the rail for owners Ronald Phillips and John Carver and trainer Jamaica Patton. Connie On the Go opened the season strong, winning five of her first six starts. A pair of tiring trips leading into the final may be the reason for the inflated line, but a recent qualifier where she finished strongly could put her into the mix for this final. Race 5 - $67,000 PointsBet & Club Hawthorne Plesac Championship Three-year-old and up trotters follow in the Plesac Championship, another stakes final receiving a $20,000 purse boost from PointsBet. The girls will look to crash the boy's party as talented six-year-old mare Annas Lucky Star is the 7-5 favorite for owner Danny Graham and trainer Nelson Willis. The track record holder for aged mare trotter, Annas Lucky Star has won five of 11 starts on the year. She set the track record in a win against open trotters on August 8, winning in 1:53.3 and then equaled that mark two weeks later. Driven by Kyle Wilfong, Annas Lucky Star is looking for her 40th career victory in start number 73. The competition for Annas Lucky Star could come from a pair of Steve Searle trained trotters in Lousraptor and Louzotic. Both owned by Flacco Family Farms LLC, Lousraptor draws post two while Louzotic drew outside post nine in the field. Lousraptor has had a fine year, winning five of 18 races while finishing in the top three 13 times. He upset Annas Lucky Star two weeks ago as Juan Franco gets the call on the 4-1 second choice. Talented mare Louztoic will be driven by Kyle Husted as she has finished first or second in nine of 15 races this year. An 11-time winner in 2019, Louzotic rallied in last week's Plesac prep, nabbing Annas Lucky Star on the wire for the upset win. Louzotic is 10-1 in the morning line. Race 6 - $98,000 Beulah Dygert Memorial Championship Three-year-old filly trotters follow in the Beulah Dygert Memorial as trainer Steve Searle will look to strike once again. This race Searle sends out a pair in Lous Abigail and Bee See. Lous Abigail is the 6-5 morning line choice for owner Flacco Family Farms LLC as she has rattled off five consecutive victories coming into this final. She posted a season best mark of 1:57.3 while winning two starts back and cruised to a nearly ten-length score in her division of the final leg of this series last weekend. Casey Leonard returns in the bike with Lous Abigail. Owned in partnership by Baldes, Searle, Paloma, and Paloma, Bee See draws post two and is 10-1 in the morning line. Driven by Kyle Husted, Bee See was a five time winner from ten starts last season and has found the board in half of her ten races in 2020. She was beaten only a head in a game effort behind Lous Abigail three starts back. Second choice at 5-2 and drawing the inside is Fox Valley Extacy. Owned in partnership by Miller, Hochsprung, Hochsprung, and Falzone, Fox Valley Extacy has won half of her ten starts this year, including a game front-end score last out. Travis Seekman gets the drive once again. Race 7 - $109,000 Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Championship The second richest final on the card goes for three-year-old male trotters as a talented bunch lines up. Drawing post six is the 3-2 favorite Fox Valley Quest for owners Carl Lacy and Benita Simmons. Trained by Tom Simmons Fox Valley Quest has been very good this year, finishing in the top three in all 11 starts, including six victories. He looked strong in his most recent start, taking the final let of the Dygert by four lengths while leading from start to finish. Another having a fantastic year is 5-2 second choice Crooked Creek for owner Ed Teefey and trainer Mike Brink. Drawing the rail and to be driven by Todd Warren, Crooked Creek has won eight of 11 starts on the year, including a six-length win in his division of the Dygert last week. Crooked Creek also got the best of Fox Valley Quest at the end of August, holding him off for a length-and-a-quarter score. Crooked Creek isn't Brink's only shot as he also sends out On Higher Ground whom he owns in partnership with All-Wright Racing LLC. On Higher Ground has hit the board in 10 of 11 this year, including a win over both Fox Valley Quest and Crooked Creek on August 21. Kyle Wilfong gets the drive once again with On Higher Ground. Race 8 - $118,000 Kadabra Championship The evening's richest race goes for two-year-old male trotters in a completely wide-open Kadabra final. With no horse in the full field of ten with over three lifetime victories, any could win this event. The 2-1 morning line favorite drew post four as Lousrolando starts for owners David Brigham and Kyle Husted as Husted trains and drives. Lousrolando is the "now" horse though as he enters this final off a pair of solid victories. Last week he controlled things on the front end, winning the final leg of the Kadabra by six-and-a-quarter lengths. The lightly raced Fistfullofdollars poses a threat for owners Brink, Toumer, Clauson, and Brown and trainer Mike Brink. Making only four lifetime starts, he has found the board in each race, winning his most recent division of the Kadabra in a game victory. Kyle Wilfong drives as Fistfullofdollars will likely have to look to rate and rally from post eight. Race 9 - $71,000 Incredible Finale Championship Two-year-old male pacers line up in the Incredible Finale as the 8-5 favorite Frontier Charley will have to work hard to win from the far outside. Drawing post nine, Frontier Charley is driven by Todd Warren for trainer Jim Eaton. A winner of four of seven starts on the year, he rides a two race streak into this final, including a late closing score last out. Well Basically races for owner Engel Stable Of IL LLC and trainer Erv Miller. He put together a string of three straight wins early in August before being caught on the wire by Frontier Charley in his last. Marcus Miller was behind him for the last of his streak of three wins and drives again on Saturday. Ideal Big Guy gets the rail for owners Dandy Farms Racing, trainer Terry Leonard, Ob Stables and Peter Kouchis as the 7-2 third choice. Although entering this final with only one win lifetime, he has found the board in four of his last five starts. His early speed will benefit him in this final from the inside. Race 10 - $86,000 Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial Championship Three-year-old male pacers are featured in the Carey Memorial as He'zzz A Wise Sky is the 3-2 morning line choice. Owned by Triple Zzz Stable and trained by Don Filomeno, He'zzz A Wise Sky won on Night of Champions last year and has continued his winning ways. Finishing first or second in ten of 11 races this year, he has rattled off three straight wins, including a dominating effort in last week's prep. Regular driver Robert Smolin returns in the bike. Western Perch was the last horse to get the best of He'zzz A Wise Sky, pulling off the upset against him on August 14. Owned in partnership by Bowen, Bowen, and Markert, the Nicole Agosti trainee drew post five. A three-time winner on the year, Western Perch is driven in the final by Kyle Wilfong. Race 11 - $108,000 Plum Peachy Championship A good field of three-year-old filly pacers line up with multiple horses in with a chance. Although listed as the 3-1 second choice in the Trackmaster morning line, Fox Valley Exploit will go off the favorite for owners David Brigham and Kyle Husted. Husted trains and drives the winner of seven of eight on the year, including a speedy win in 1:53 in the second leg of this series. She will have to overcome her post nine draw but her tactical speed allows her to show speed or rate and rally. Listed at 2-1 but the likely second choice at off time is Sign Her Up. Getting a favorable inside draw for owners Rb Roper and Fabian Johnson, Sign Her Up has won four times from 14 starts on the year and hit the board in nine of those 14 races. She is the only horse in the field to defeat Fox Valley Exploit this summer, doing so on August 22. Juan Franco drives for trainer Charles Arthur. Harper has also been very good in 2020 as she starts for owner Peter Karras and trainer Rick Schrock. An eight-time winner from 14 starts, Harper went unraced as a two-year-old but has only missed the board twice this year. Kyle Wilfong drives as Harper comes off a second-place performance behind Fox Valley Exploit last time out. Race 12 - $68,000 PointsBet & Club Hawthorne Tony Maurello Memorial Championship The same as last season, aged female pacers round out the championship evening. Last year's reigning champ Skeeter Machine returns to try to defend her title for owners Francis and James Greer and trainer Nicole Agosti. After winning five times last year, Skeeter Machine has posted five wins once again in 2020. She's the 9-2 third choice in the morning line as Kyle Wilfong drives. The deserving favorite at 9-5 is Allbeastnobeauty for driver and trainer Todd Warren. A winner of nine of 21 starts on the year for owners Brookside Stables and Keith Ravis, she enters this final on a four race win streak. She won gamely in last week's elimination as she looks for her 33rd lifetime win. 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 - In Saturday's ninth race at Hawthorne Race Course, harness racing driver Todd Warren drove Tappin Outamessage to career victory number 5,000. The 55-year-old Warren began his driving career in 1981. Since then, Warren has had 21 years winning over 100 races each year. Within that period Warren has surpassed 200 wins 8 times and 300 victories three times. Warren's best season came in 2010 with 344 wins. Additionally, Warren just surpassed $26 million in career driving earnings this weekend. As a trainer, Warren is approaching 1,000 victories as he has trained 962 winners for over $3.2 million in earnings. by Jim Miller, for Hawthorne Race Course

CHICAGO, IL -  PointsBet, a premier global sportsbook operator, announced today that it is now providing its mobile app and digital sports betting product in Illinois. Illinois marks the fourth operational state for PointsBet's premium sports betting product, following successful launches in New Jersey, Iowa, and Indiana.   In addition to launching the PointsBet mobile app and digital product, PointsBet's convenient retail presence in Chicago will soon debut at four sites that flank every corner of Chicagoland. Hawthorne Race Course (Stickney, IL) represents the flagship retail location, and additional off-track betting (OTB) premium sportsbooks will debut in Prospect Heights, Oakbrook Terrace, and Crestwood.   "The PointsBet team is excited to share that we are now officially live in Illinois, our fourth state of operation in the US," said Johnny Aitken, PointsBet USA CEO. "The passionate sports fans in the state can now experience our leading online sports betting product and see for themselves why we've long stated that the best product experience will win. PointsBet possesses competitive advantages by owning our technology environment from end to end, such as unrivaled speed and ease of use on a personalized platform. We, together with our partner Hawthorne Race Course, are thrilled to provide the Illinois consumer with exactly what they've been craving."   Hawthorne received approval from the Illinois Gaming Board in July to move forward with a $400 million redevelopment of Chicago's Hometown Track to create a multi-dimensional gaming entertainment destination inclusive of a casino and sportsbook. The first-of-its-kind business in Illinois will feature slots, table games, enhanced parimutuel wagering, dining concepts created in partnership with well-known Chicago culinary leaders, and a connected multi-story parking garage. Hawthorne Casino & Race Course is expected to open in late 2021 pending final licensing approvals.   "There are a lot of good reasons why we chose to partner with PointsBet, but most importantly it's their commitment to innovation and customer excitement," said Tim Carey, President and CEO of Hawthorne. "They truly know the passion and needs of the player and that has always been our focus in horseracing, just as it will be in the casino that we're developing. Illinois gamblers are going to quickly realize PointsBet provides the best sports betting experience by far."   As a nod to Illinois sports fans, PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken confirmed that PointsBet will offer the best price in market for all Chicago Bears games this season across both the pregame spreadline and moneyline bet types. Additionally, PointsBet will unveil their innovative "Crowd Booster" promotion for sports bettors in the state of Illinois for the Chicago Bears' first three games of the 2020 NFL season. The Bears spread will be boosted five points for every 200 bets placed, resulting in an extremely favorable spread for clients. Best of all, all clients will be able to take advantage of the final spread number, regardless of where they got their bet down!   In conjunction with the official launch of PointsBet's Illinois sports betting product, the operator also recently announced its partnership with future NFL Hall-of-Famer, Devin Hester. A symbiotic element to the partnership, a primary point of differentiation for the PointsBet mobile product is unmatched speed and ease of use. The fastest way to get down a bet in Chicago, PointsBet owns their technology end-to-end and places an emphasis on an in-house development approach, allowing PointsBet to offer clients a faster and more streamlined digital experience, exclusive product features, bet types that cannot be found anywhere else, deep Spanish language functionality, the ability to incorporate regulatory approved changes seamlessly, and so much more. In a recent interview on the partnership,   Hester commented: "With the technology that these guys have, it just makes things so easy and fast. And that's why I partnered up with PointsBet, just thinking about myself being fast, and then coming in and joining with these guys, it just makes life so easy when you want to get in bets."   As the official, exclusive sports betting partner of NBC Sports, PointsBet will utilize the media giant's premium television and digital assets to promote the PointsBet brand across Illinois. As part of the agreement, NBC Sports provides PointsBet with year-round, multi-platform media and marketing opportunities across its unmatched portfolio of events, including exclusive multiplatform gameday integrations across NBC Sports Chicago, regional broadcast home to the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, and White Sox. PointsBetâ's full Spanish-language functionality will reach Hispanic sports fans via Telemundo Deportes and Telemundo broadcast stations.   From PointsBet USA      

(Stickney, IL)-- Local horses from quaint small towns throughout the Prairie State, the State of Illinois, won a trio of Illini Classic Yearling Sale graduates posted victories in $29,000 stakes races for Illinois-breds at Hawthorne Race Course last weekend, while another captured a $7,000 undercard event highlighted by an upset in the Darn Safe for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings.   Lousrolando (LOU'S LEGACY - OFF WHITE - ARMBRO VARIABLE) dismissed by the betting public in the $29,000 Darn Safe at odds of 51-1, led every step of the way for owner-trainer-driver Kyle Husted to score in 2:00.2 for his first career victory. David Brigham shares ownership in the gelded son of Lou's Legacy, who sold for $17,500 from the consignment of Flacco Family Farms LLC. Husted and Brigham found further success when Fox Valley Exploit (SPORTSMASTER - SHE LIKES IT ALL - THE BIG DOG) captured the $29,000 Time Dancer for three-year-old pacing fillies as the 4-5 favorite in 1:53.4. Purchased for $22,000 from the 2018 consignment of Fox Valley Standardbreds, the daughter of Sportsmaster now boasts $159,000 in career earnings. In the $29,000 Governor's Cup for freshman pacing colts and geldings, Frontier Charley (SAGEBRUSH - CUZURINITTOWINIT - FT APACHE HANOVER) took the win as the 2-1 2nd choice for owners F. Phillip Langley Estate, Jim Eaton, John Schwarz Jr., and Robert Silberberg in 1:56.1. Purchased for $24,000 from the joint consignment of Sunrise Farm and Frontier Farms, and trained by Eaton, the gelded son of Sagebrush has now earned $50,000 with three wins in six (6) starts. Sales graduate Fox Valley Liza (MUSCLE MASS - SUPER RENEE - ANGUS HALL) also made headlines recently, taking an $80,000 leg of the Ontario Sires Stakes GOLD Series in track-record time of 1:57.4 on the half-mile (1/2) oval at Grand River Raceway in Elora, Ontario. Owned by Anthony Lombardi, Hen-Shaut Stable, and George T. Golemes, conditioned by Ervin Miller, and trained for her Canadian engagements by Benoit Baillargeon, the daughter of Muscle Mass sold for $27,000 last year from the Fox Valley Standardbreds offering. The 2020 Illini Classic will take place Monday (September 7) at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Submitted by Kurt Becker for The Horseman's Voice  

Springfield Harness Racing 2020 - Topline (Illinois Trotting & Pacing Assoc.) - Hawthorne Race Course - RECAP 2 - August 29, 20/20   Race 1 County Fair Challenge Two Year Old Fillies Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Breeze At Sunset (2, M Southwind Breeze - Before Sunset - Donato Hanover) 2nd Murray`s Layaway 3rd Tr`s Princess Time: 32.0 1:04.1 (32.1) 1:36.3 (32.2) 2:06.3 (30.0) VIDEO:   Race 2 ICF - Fillies & Mares Four Year Olds and Up Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Annas Lucky Star (6, M Cassis - Queen Jamie - Can`t Be Jimmie) 2nd Louzotic 3rd Heidi High Time: 29.0 57.3 (28.3) 1:26.4 (29.1) 1:55.1 (28.2) VIDEO:   Race 3 The Director`s Award $29,000 Two Year Old Fillies Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Hart`s Heart (2, M Major Bombay - Redhot Hart - Sportsmaster) 2nd Bootsy Bombay 3rd Princess Mooss Time: 29.3 59.1 (29.3) 1:28.1 (29.0) 1:56.1 (28.0) VIDEO:   Race 4 Topline (Illinois Trotting & Pacing Assoc.) - 3 yo & Up Winner: Muscular Babe (5, M Guccio - Andover Babe - Andover Hall) 2nd Swan Of Dreams 3rd Scramble Camp Time: 29.0 58.1 (29.1) 1:27.3 (29.2) 1:56.2 (28.4) VIDEO:   Race 5 The Windy Skeeter $29,000 Three Year Old Fillies Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Lous Abigail (3, M Lou`s Legacy - Sh Four - Valley Victor) 2nd Fox Valley Lush 3rd El Oh Govner Time: 29.2 58.1 (28.4) 1:27.4 (29.3) 1:57.3 (29.4) VIDEO:   Race 6 County Fair Challenge Three Year Old Fillies Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Harper (3, M Sportsmaster - Boss Lady Hanover - Dragon Again) 2nd Tropical Fruit 3rd Dancin Eyes Time: 29.3 58.1 (28.3) 1:27.4 (29.3) 1:56.0 (28.1) VIDEO:   Race 7 County Fair Challenge Three Year Old Fillies Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Tropical Rosie (3, M Dontcheatonmenow - Tropical Caprice - Armbro Tropicana) 2nd Lous Cover Girl 3rd Reign And Shine Time: 30.1 59.3 (29.2) 1:30.2 (30.4) 2:00.1 (29.4) VIDEO:   Race 8 County Fair Challenge Two Year Old Fillies Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Clearly The Bomb (2, M Major Bombay - Perfectly Clear - Duneside Perch) 2nd Kandi`s Fortune 3rd Starofnight Time: 31.3 1:01.2 (29.4) 1:31.1 (29.4) 2:00.0 (28.4) VIDEO:   Race 9 The Shawnee $29,000 Two Year Old Fillies Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Loulita (2, M Lou`s Legacy - Olives And Caviar - SJ`s Caviar) 2nd Lucky Valerie 3rd Myonly Sin Time: 31.4 1:02.0 (30.1) 1:32.4 (30.4) 2:01.4 (29.0) VIDEO:   Race 11 Topline (Illinois Trotting & Pacing Assoc.)- 2 yo Winner: Swan Bird (2, M Swan For All - Broadway And Fifth - Broadway Hall) 2nd Don`t Like School 3rd Cold Rage Time: 30.0 59.1 (29.1) 1:29.3 (30.2) 2:00.0 (30.2) VIDEO:   Race 12 The Time Dancer $29,000 Three Year Old Fillies Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Fox Valley Exploit (3, M Sportsmaster - She Likes It All - The Big Dog) 2nd Sleazy Gal 3rd Sign Her Up Time: 28.0 56.3 (28.3) 1:26.0 (29.2) 1:53.4 (27.4) VIDEO:   Race 16 ICF - Fillies & Mares Four Year Olds and Up Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Allbeastnobeauty (5, M Sportsmaster - She Likes It All - The Big Dog) 2nd Lilly Von Shtupp 3rd Skeeter Machine Time: 28.0 55.4 (27.4) 1:24.1 (28.2) 1:51.3 (27.2) VIDEO: The Horseman's Voice "Like" us 😉      

Tonights' Hawthorne Race Course's harness racing card saw Casey Leonard score three wins, while Kyle Husted, Todd Warren, Bobby Smolin and Cordarius Stewart each scored two wins over the eighteen (18) race card which included two (2) non-wagering races and sixteen (16) overnights (wagering races). Springfield Harness Racing 2020 - Topline (Illinois Trotting & Pacing Assoc.) - Hawthorne Race Course - RECAP - August 28, 20/20   Race 1 County Fair Challenge Three Year Old Colts & Geldings Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Heath Bar (3, G Psychic Spirit - Milky Way - Chocolatier) 2nd Easy Eol 3rd Lou Paschal Time: 30.1 1:00.2 (30.1) 1:30.0 (29.3) 2:00.2 (30.2) VIDEO:   Race 3 Topline (Illinois Trotting & Pacing Assoc.) - 2 yo Winner: Coach Loman (2, G Net Ten Eom - Bubbas Joicey B - Western Hanover) 2nd Moment To Shine 3rd Fiftyshadesofbliss Time: 29.2 58.2 (29.0) 1:27.3 (29.1) 1:56.1 (28.3) VIDEO:   Race 4 The Governor $29,000 ( JB Pritzker Governor JB Pritzker)`s Cup Two Year Old Colts & Geldings Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Frontier Charley (2, G Sagebrush - Cuzurinittowinit - Ft Apache Hanover) 2nd Ideal Big Guy 3rd Well Basically Time: 31.0 1:00.0 (29.0) 1:28.2 (28.2) 1:56.1 (27.4) VIDEO:   Race 7 The Pronto Don $29,000 Three Year Old Colts & Geldings Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Crooked Creek (3, G Cassis - Princess Addie - Classic Photo) 2nd Fox Valley Quest 3rd On Higher Ground Time: 30.1 58.1 (28.0) 1:27.4 (29.3) 1:56.1 (28.2) VIDEO:   Race 9 The Darn Safe $29,000 Two Year Old Colts & Geldings Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Lousrolando (2, G Lou`s Legacy - Off White - Armbro Variable) 2nd Bobalou 3rd Fistfullofdollars Time: 30.1 59.4 (29.3) 1:30.0 (30.1) 2:00.2 (30.2) VIDEO:   Race 10 ICF Horses & Geldings 4 Year Olds & Up Winner: Frontier Manard (4, G Armbro Approach - Frontier Cangochic - Psychic Spirit) 2nd Lousraptor 3rd Louscardamon Time: 30.2 59.3 (29.1) 1:28.0 (28.2) 1:56.3 (28.3) VIDEO:   Race 11 The Dudley Hanover $29,000 Three Year Old Colts & Geldings Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: He`zzz A Wise Sky (3, H Yankee Skyscaper - Gimmeazzzmooch - Four Starzzz Shark) 2nd Rg`s Tracer 3rd Western Perch Time: 28.1 55.4 (27.3) 1:23.3 (27.4) 1:51.3 (28.0) VIDEO:   Race 15 Topline - 3 yo & Up Winner: Yankee Bounty (8, G Yankee Cruiser - Bootleg Yankee - Allamerican Native) 2nd Kelly D 3rd Artofficial Flavor Time: 28.2 56.3 (28.1) 1:25.2 (28.4) 1:52.3 (27.1) VIDEO:   Race 16 ICF - 4 yo + Colts & Geldings Winner: Fox Valley Gemini (5, G Yankee Skyscaper - Epona - Cole Muffler) 2nd Salvatore 3rd Bass Player Time: 27.4 56.1 (28.2) 1:24 (27.4) 1:50.4 (26.4) VIDEO:   The Horseman's Voice "like"  

Mount Sterling, Illinois (Aug. 25, 2020) -- Harness racing Graduates of the Illinois Classic Yearling Sale figured prominently in the 69th Annual Illini State Fair Colt Stakes Championships last weekend at Hawthorne Race Course, posting three wins and six (6) runner-up finishes in the eight (8) divisional finals.   Well Basically (Sagebrush - Basic Brown - Broadway Express), purchased for $31,000 at the 2019 sale by Anthony Lombardi from the consignment of Fair Meadow Farm, led the way by capturing the title for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings in 1:56.4. Dispatched as the 4-5 favorite, the gelded son of Sagebrush scored his third consecutive victory for Lombardi and Engel Stable of IL LLC. Trained by Ervin Miller and driven by his son, Marcus Miller, Well Basically was bred by Chicago High School For Agricultural Sciences and William Hook.   Frontier Charley (Sagebrush - Cuzurinittowinit - Ft Apache Hanover), another altered son of Sagebrush, finished 3rd in the same race for co-owner and trainer Jim Eaton. John R. Schwarz Jr., Robert Silberberg, and the F. Phillip Langley Estate also share ownership in the gelding, who sold at the Illini Classic from the consignment of Frontier Farms and Sunrise Farm.   Sign Her Up (Sagebrush - Lives To Dance - Life Sign), a 2018 Illini Classic graduate from the Fair Meadow consignment, proved to be a bargain purchase at $3,000 by winning the $30,000 championship for three-year-old pacing fillies. Owned by RB Roper and Fabian Johnson, and trained by Charles Arthur, the Sagebrush lass scored in 1:54.1 for driver Juan Franco.   Fox Valley Exploit (Sportsmaster - She Likes It All - The Big Dog) took runner-up honors in the same event for owner-trainer-driver Kyle Husted and co-owner David Brigham, having been purchased from the consignment of Fox Valley Standardbreds.   Also reaching the winner's circle was On Higher Ground (Cassis - Lady Madonna - Angus Hall), who sold for $16,000 in 2018 from the consignment of K.E.M. Standardbreds to H.W. (Bill) Wright. The gelded son of Cassis triumphed in 1:56.2 in the final for sophomore trotting colts and geldings for All-Wright Racing LLC and co-owner and trainer Mike Brink, as Kyle Wilfong had the winning drive.   Fox Valley Quest (Pizzazzed - Fox Valley Strata - Vaporize), bred and sold by Fox Valley Standardbreds, finished 3rd for owners Carl Lacy and Benita Simmons.   Other Illini Classic grads to post podium finishes included the following-- Loyz Say When (Dangerous Thing - Malia Ann - Armbro Tropicana), offered at the 2019 sale from the consignment of Ray Yoder and later purchased privately by Jackson Loy, was runner-up in the $32,000 two-year-old colt and gelding trot championship.   My Only Sin (Lou`s Legacy - Earli Valley - Valley Victor), sold by Flacco Family Farms LLC in 2019 and purchased by Ervin Miller, Agent, was runner-up in the freshman filly trot for owners Lombardi and Engel. Lucky Valerie (Yankee Valor - Homestead Slipper - Lucky Twenty-five), purchased by Gerald Hansen from the consignment of Kenny Chupp, finished 3rd for owners Shelley Steele, Arthur F. Zacharski, and Bernie and Deb Paul.   Bootsy Bombay (Major Bombay - Artemis Tss - Artiscape), sold last year for $6,000 by Hoosier Standardbred Farm, Agent for Fair Meadow Farm, to Alan Bowen, was runner-up in the two-year-old filly pace for owner James Greer and trainer Nick Prather. Gary Rath trained Princess Mooss (Ashlee`s Big Guy - Sharon Spur - Sharky Spur) to a 3rd-place finish in the same event for owner Alan Beals, who bought the filly from the consignment of Hamm Family Trust.   In the final for sophomore colt and gelding pacers, RG's Tracer (Psychic Spirit - Chicky Dee - Sportsmaster) finished 2nd for owners Robert J. Grismore and Charles A. Knipp. Grismore signed the ticket at the 2018 Illini Classic for the gelding, who was offered from the Hamm Family consignment.   Bee See (Cassis - Lovin You Forever - Credit Winner), bought by trainer Steve Searle in 2018 from consignor Glenn R. Jess, took runner-up honors in the three-year-old filly trot championship for a partnership which includes Searle, Molly M. Baldes, and Michael and Chris Paloma. Fox Valley Lush (Pizzazzed - Love You More - Conway Hall), bred and sold by Fox Valley Standardbreds, finished 3rd for F. Phillip Langley Estate, Robert Silberberg, John R. Schwarz Jr., and co-owner and trainer Jim Eaton.   The 2020 Illini Classic will take place on Monday, September 7, at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois. Submitted by Kurt Becker for The Horseman's Voice

STICKNEY, IL – With races shifted from Springfield and DuQuoin to Hawthorne this summer, many of the top harness racing horses in the state were on hand for what turned out to be a preview of next month’s Night of Champions. Friday night kicked off impressively as two-year-old Hot Mess Express defeated Topline company by 11 ½ lengths, winning in 1:52.1 for trainer Jamaica Patton and driver Ridge Warren.  That win by Hot Mess Express began a string of ten straight winning favorites on the Friday card. After favorites Crankin’ It Up (1:54.1) won for Kyle Wilfong and Nicole Agosti won the second race and Sudden Approach (2:03.4) took the third for Clifton Bell and Jerry Mims, the Championship finals kicked off. Race four saw a field of male juvenile pacers compete in the $32,000 final.  Driver Marcus Miller gave Erv Miller trained Well Basically a perfect stalking trip, rallying late to win by three-quarters of a length.  Covering the mile in 1:56.4, Well Basically held off longshot Diamond Diesel.  Pacesetter Frontier Charley held on to finish third. Two-year-old male trotters were next in the $32,000 final.  Another favorite, and another impressive effort was seen as Curt Grummel trained and driven Bobalou made the lead and never looked back.  A winner by nine lengths in 2:01.0, Bobalou was well clear of 55-1 shot Loyz Say When and 26-1 Fistfullofdollars, who finished third. Race nine on Friday featured three-year-old male pacers for $30,000. Avenging a defeat from last week, trainer Don Filomeno’s He’zzz A Wise Sky left no doubt in the final.  Instead of rating, the 1-5 favorite moved to the front early for driver Robert Smolin and was in full control, winning by 5 ½ lengths in 1:52.1. Rg’s Tracer rallied for second while Ryans Ambassador finished third. Race 13 went for $30,000 as three-year-old male trotters brought forth the first upset of the championship races.  Trainer Mike Brink finished one-two in the race as 10-1 winner On Higher Ground (1:56.2) got up in the shadow of the wire for Kyle Wilfong to catch 9-5 Crooked Creek, winning by a neck. 3-5 favorite Fox Valley Quest closed late to finish third. Saturday evening continued the festivities as the card kicked off with juvenile filly trotters competing for $32,000. Continuing the trend of favorites dominating, Loulita did just that as Casey Leonard guided the Steve Searle trainee to a 6 ¼ length triumph in 2:02.1. Myonly Sin finished second while Lucky Valerie was third. Three races later, two-year-old filly pacers brought about a bit of an upset in the $32,000 event.  Carving out the fractions and never looking back was the Mike Brink trained Hart’s Heart as Juan Franco drove her to a 4 ¾ length score in 1:55.3.  Longshot  Bootsy Bombay rallied for second while favored Princess Moose chased the pace and held on for third. It was Juan Franco right back in the winner’s circle for the following race as three-year-old filly pacers competed for the $30,000 pot. Juan pulled another upset, this time with 7-1 shot Sign Her Up, winning by 3 ¼ lengths.  Heavy favorite Fox Valley exploit battled but was only second best while Harper finished third.  Sign Her Up covered the mile for trainer Charles Arthur in 1:54.1. The final championship race of the weekend was for three-year-old filly trotters in the tenth race, carrying a $30,000 purse.  This time the favorite was able to get the job done as Casey Leonard drove Lous Abigail to the victory in 1:58.1. 33-1 shot was game in defeat, battling to the wire and coming up a head short. Fox Valley Lush finished third.  Both Lous Abigail and Bee See were trained by 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.   Jim Miller

Springfield Harness Racing 2020 - Topline (Illinois Trotting & Pacing Assoc.) - Hawthorne Race Course - RECAP - August 22, 20/20   Race 1 2 Year Old Filly Championship Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Loulita (2, M Lou`s Legacy - Olives And Caviar - SJ`s Caviar) 2nd Myonly Sin 3rd Lucky Valerie Time: 31.1 1:02.1 (31.0) 1:33.1 (31.0) 2:02.1 (29.0) VIDEO:   Race 4 Two Year Old Filly Championship Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Hart`s Heart (2, M Major Bombay - Redhot Hart - Sportsmaster) 2nd Bootsy Bombay Princess Mooss Time: 28.4 57.0 (28.1) 1:26.1 (29.1) 1:55.3 (29.2) VIDEO:   Race 5 Three Year Old Filly Championship Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Sign Her Up (3, M Sagebrush - Lives To Dance - Life Sign) 2nd Fox Valley Exploit Sin 3rd Harper Time: 29.4 58.4 (29.0) 1:26.4 (28.0) 1:54.1 (27.2) VIDEO:   Race 6 Topline (Illinois Trotting & Pacing Assoc.) (Topline) - 2 yo Winner: Alwaysbmygg (2, M Creatine - April Fooling - Broadway Hall) 2nd Jamaican Smile 3rd Whimsical Kid Time: 31.0 1:02.1 (31.1) 1:32.1 (30.0) 2:02.3 (30.2) VIDEO:   Race 7 Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) - 3 yo Fillies Winner: Fox Valley Extacy (3, M Pizzazzed - Racy Roz - Conway Hall) 2nd Fantastic Valor 3rd She`s Got Moxy Time: 30.4 1:00.3 (29.4) 1:31.0 (30.2) 2:01.0 (30.0) VIDEO:   Race 8 Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) - 3 yo Fillies Winner: Tropical Fruit (3, M Sportsmaster - Sunshine Sister - Real Artist) 2nd Fox Valley Nia 3rd Dancin Eyes Time: 29.1 57.4 (28.3) 1:27.1 (29.2) 1:56.1 (29.0) VIDEO:   Race 9 Topline (Illinois Trotting & Pacing Assoc.) (Topline) - 3 yo & Up Winner: Muscular Babe (5, M Guccio - Andover Babe - Andover Hall) 2nd Primed N Powerful 3rd Scramble Camp Time: 29.2 57.4 (28.2) 1:27.3 (29.4) 1:57.0 (29.2) VIDEO:   Race 10 Three Year Old Filly Championship Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Lous Abigail (3, M Lou's Legacy - SH Four - Valley Victor) 2nd Bee See 3rd Fox Valley Lush Time: 30.1 58.3 (28.2) 1:27.4 (29.1) 1:58.1 (30.2) VIDEO: The Horseman's Voice  

Springfield Harness Racing 2020 - Topline (Illinois Trotting & Pacing Assoc.) - Hawthorne Race Course - RECAP - August 21, 20/20   Race 1 Topline (Illinois Trotting & Pacing Assoc.) - 2 yo Winner: Hot Mess Express (2, M Panther Hanover - My Heart Was True - Cole Muffler) 2nd Coach Loman 3rd Drivin Me Crazy Time: 28.1 57.3 (29.2) 1:24.3 (27.0) 1:52.1 (27.3) VIDEO:   Race 3 Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) - 2 yo Colts & Geldings Winner: Sudden Approach (2, H Armbro Approach - Louisa Matilda - Malabar Man) 2nd Mystical Murray 3rd Sumbodygetdisfool Time: 30.4 1:02.2 (31.3) 1:34.0 (31.3) 2:03.4 (29.4) VIDEO:   Race 4 Two Year Old Colts & Geldings Championship Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Well Basically (2, G Sagebrush - Basic Brown - Broadway Express) 2nd Diamond Diesel 3rd Frontier Charley Time: 29.4 58.4 (29.0) 1:28.3 (29.4) 1:56.4 (28.1) VIDEO:   Race 5 Two Year Old Colts & Geldings Championship Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: Bobalou (2, G Lou`s Legacy - Honestly - Deweycheatumnhowe) 2nd Loyz Say When 3rd Fistfullofdollars Time: 31.0 1:00.2 (29.2) 1:31.0 (30.3) 2:01.0 (30.0) VIDEO:   Race 7 Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) - 3 yo Colts & Geldings Winner: Lousintuit (3, G Lou`s Legacy - Starlix - Giant Triumph) 2nd Fitchey For Fun 3rd Heath Bar Time: 31.1 1:01.1 (30.0) 1:31.1 (30.0)2:00.2 (29.1) VIDEO:   Race 8 Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) - 3 yo Colts & Geldings Winner: Mighty Tony Mac (3, G Hawaiian Cowboy - Andria Doria - Cole Muffler) 2nd Patton Plus 3rd L L Gram Time: 29.3 58.2 (28.4) 1:28.2 (30.0) 1:56.1 (27.4) VIDEO:   Race 9 Three Year Old Colts & Geldings - Championship Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: He`zzz A Wise Sky (3, H Yankee Skyscaper - Gimmeazzzmooch - Four Starzzz Shark) 2nd Rg`s Tracer 3rd Ryans Ambassador Time: 28.3 56.4 (28.1) 1:25.3 (28.4) 1:52.1 (26.3) VIDEO:   Race 10 Topline (Illinois Trotting & Pacing Assoc.) - 3 yo & Up Winner: Yankee Bounty (8, G Yankee Cruiser - Bootleg Yankee - Allamerican Native) 2nd Artofficial Flavor 3rd Mingo Time: 28.2 56.2 (28.0) 1:24.3 (28.1) 1:52.4 (28.1) VIDEO:   Race 13 Three Year Old Colts & Geldings - Championship Illinois Conceived and Foaled Winner: On Higher Ground (3, G Cassis - Lady Madonna - Angus Hall) 2nd Crooked Creek 3rd Fox Valley Quest Time: 29.1 57.4 (28.3) 1:27.1 (29.2) 1:56.2 (29.1) VIDEO: Eric M. Poders

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