Hawthorne Racetrack Picks
Hawthorne Race Course is located in Stickney/Cicero, Ill., which is close to Chicago. The racetrack is owned by the Carey family, which makes it the oldest continually family-run racetrack in North America.
The track currently hosts both Thoroughbred and Harness racing and stages two meets per year. The latter dominates throughout the summer months, with the former taking center stage at the beginning of October.
Racing tends to take place on Friday and Saturday nights, although the occasional Thursday evening card may also be scheduled.
Hawthorne boasts two tracks, with a main course consisting of conventional dirt stretching over a mile. There is also a turf track, which is slightly shorter at seven furlongs.
Racing is staged on both tracks, though over 60 percent of contests will be played out on the dirt.
There are a number of valuable races that take place at the track, including the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup. This contest tends to attract a number of stakes runners and is always a hugely enjoyable contest. It is one of three Grade III contests to take place at the Chicago venue.
Unlike many other racetracks in North America,Hawthorne hasn't been wholly reliant on the income from other sources. However, plans to build a casino have been submitted, and work will begin at the start of 2020 that will result in racing being halted for a four-month period.
Racing will continue once the new facility has been completed, and the owners have suggested that this will help revenue at the track and have a knock-on effect on both purse money and field sizes.
In 1890, 119 acres of land was purchased by businessman Edward Corrigan, who was based locally. He had an interest in horse racing, having owned several thoroughbreds, including Riley, who was successful in the Kentucky Derby.
There are only four tracks that have more history than Hawthorne – Saratoga, Churchill Downs, Pimlico, and Fair Grounds.
Once construction was completed, the track hosted a five-race card, which included the prestigious Chicago Derby.
Sadly, just over a decade later, a fire broke out at the track, and the grandstand was burned to the ground. Racing was moved elsewhere for the time being. It didn't take long for the course to re-open, with a 12-day meet held just months later.
Racing was banned in Chicago in 1905, and while the track lay dormant, it was sold to Thomas Carey. The racetrack has remained in the family ever since. The infield was used to fly gliders for a short time while live racing was unable to take place at the track.
Despite numerous attempts to re-open the track, it wasn't until 1916 that racing would recommence at Hawthorne. The American Derby was part of this "experimental" 13-day meet, and racing would continue in this form for the next six years.
The owners were granted permission to extend the meet to 25 days in 1923, with a 52-day meet following later that year. Although the track was still owned by the Carey family, the Chicago BusinessMen's Racing Association took over day-to-day operations at the track.
Pari-mutuel betting and a new clubhouse were also introduced around this time.
The Hawthorne Gold Cup was first introduced in 1928, with Sun Beau being declared the winner of this inaugural contest. Other horses to have achieved this feat include Black Tie Affair, Buck's Boy, Awesome Again, and Round Table.
More racing was introduced throughout the1930s and 1940s, with the track taking over the majority of Lincoln Field's meets. It was around this time that specific races for Illinois-bred horses were also introduced.
The turf course was introduced in 1948, with the six-furlong track being completely renovated ahead of its grand unveiling.This was just 12 months after Robert F. Carey took over as managing director at the track.
Harness racing was first held at the track in the early 1970s, with dates running throughout the spring and summer months.Occasional Quarter Horse events were also held at this time.
Another fire broke out in 1978, with the grandstand once again suffering a fair amount of damage. Racing was moved toSportsman's Park while repairs took place. With Arlington Park suffering a similar fate in 1985, Hawthorne took on a number of extra dates to cover the deficit.
A multi-million dollar renovation took place in 1998 with a new lighting system introduced, which allowed night racing to take place. Drainage improvements also took place in 2010, with the turf course having previously suffered from flooding.
Hawthorne made the headlines in 2009 withMusket Man winning the Illinois Derby before going on to finish second in the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Although it is listed as conventional dirt, the surface at Hawthorne is fairly deep, and that can be quite taxing for frontrunners. Wide runners who come from off the pace tend to find this track to their liking. Late speed can be key at this Chicago venue.
Occasionally during the offseason, they re-lay the track, so it's always best to take a watching brief over the subsequent couple of weeks if this happens in the future.
Horses that sit just off the pace over six furlongs also tend to have a decent record at the track.
Winning Post Position
According to the 2018 statistics, stall three was the most profitable starting position in sprint races held on the main track. Winners came from this gate 18.5 percent of the time, with 15.2 percent being drawn on the inside. Stall six was also fairly prolific, with 14.7percent of winners coming from this post. Stalls seven and eight offered a smaller sample; however, they were far from prolific with just 9.8 and 6.2% of winners, respectively.
Three of the 20 runners drawn in stall 11 were first to pass the post, which equated to a 15 percent strike rate. None of the six runners drawn in stall 12 entered the winner's enclosure.
It was a slightly different story over the longer trip, with stall eight producing impressive numbers. The outside berths were generally fairly productive, although only one of the 40 horses drawn in gate nine was victorious.
Stalls one, five and seven all produced a good return with over 15 percent each, while one of the nine runners drawn in stall11 went on to record a victory.
There was a much smaller sample of races held on the turf course, though it did see 24 percent of all winners come from stall five. Stall eight was the second highest at 11.5 percent.
There was a fairly even spread across the remainder of the positions, with each of stalls one, three and four producing 10 percent of winners.
Hawthorne Racing Season
Thoroughbred racing takes place between October and December. The opening day usually takes place in the second week of October. With harness racing throughout the summer, the track also stages a spring meet, which concludes in April.
Racing typically takes place on Thursday,Friday and Saturday nights, though towards the end of the meet, live action isr estricted to just Fridays and Saturdays.
The Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap takes place at the track each year. This is an ungraded contest which was previously known as the National Jockey Club Handicap. There are three Grade III events on the card.
● Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap
● Illinois Derby
● Sixty Sails Handicap
Other Stakes Races:
● The Bill Hartack Memorial Handicap
● Showtime Deb Stakes
● The Bucks Boy Handicap
● The Lightning Jet Stakes
● The Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity
● The Powerless Handicap
Hawthorne Race Course Address
3501 S. Laramie
Cicero, IL 60804
Hawthorne Best Jockeys and Trainers
There are a number of horsemen who regularly send their horses to take part in competitive contests at Hawthorne. As well as talented horsemen who are regularly given the opportunity to ride winners at the Chicago-area track.
|Jockey||Races||Win Rate||Place Rate||Show Rate|
|Emigh Christopher A||268||17.91%||30.97%||48.51%|
|Colon Luis H||308||16.23%||38.64%||54.55%|
|Felix Julio E||322||14.91%||31.68%||49.69%|
|Trainer||Races||Win Rate||Place Rate||Show Rate|
|Vanden Berg Brittany A||82||28.05%||34.15%||34.15%|
|Watkins James M||95||21.05%||51.58%||72.63%|