The $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. II) will once again headline the fall meeting at Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney, Il. With the release of funds from the casino impact fees last fall and on the heels of an extremely successful spring meet, the Chicagoland track's fall stakes have been upped to $1.9 million. The meet begins Wednesday, Oct. 3.
The Gold Cup is one of three stakes set for opening weekend Saturday, Oct. 6. The $500,000 race has served as a stepping stone for horses looking for a final prep to both the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) and the Breeders’ Cup Marathon (gr. II). In addition to the Gold Cup, a pair of tradiitional stakes return to their $100,000 purses. The Indian Maid Handicap and the Robert F. Carey Memorial, both on turf, will be run Gold Cup day. The following week will feature 3-year-olds on the turf in the $200,000 Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT).
“We felt that the stakes schedule had some great anchor races in the Hawthorne Gold Cup and the Hawthorne Derby,” stated Assistant General Manager Jim Miller. “At a half-million dollar purse, the grade II Gold Cup has become a focus for horsemen as they prepare for the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Marathon. Our main changes came in breaking up the Illinois stakes to cover three weekends instead of all being run the same weekend.
"We did this for a few reasons," Miller continued. "First, we wanted to create stakes event weekends every weekend in October. Second, with the older Illinois-bred runners, we are hoping the fields will be larger with the races moved to the turf. Finally, by moving the 2-year-old stakes to the second weekend in November, we will allow for more young horses to break their maidens and make allowance starts, also allowing those horses to get starts over the Hawthorne dirt surface.”
The remaining eight stakes are for Illinois-breds.
The complete stakes schedule for Hawthorne’s fall meet:
Date Stakes Purse Age Distance
Sat. Oct. 6 Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II), $500,000 3yo & up 1 1/4 miles
Sat. Oct. 6 Indian Maid Handicap, $100,000 3yo & up, f & m 1 1/16 miles-turf
Sat. Oct. 6 Robert F. Carey Memorial, $100,000 3yo & up 1 1/8 miles-turf
Sat. Oct. 13 Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT), $200,000 3yo 1 1/8 miles-turf
Sat. Oct. 20 Powerless Handicap (IL), $125,000-added 3yo & up, f&m 6 furlongs
Sat. Oct. 20 Lightning Jet Handicap (IL), $125,000-added 3yo & up 6 furlongs
Sat. Oct. 27 Illini Princess Handicap (IL), $125,000-added 3yo & up, f&m 1 1/16 miles-turf
Sat. Oct. 27 Buck’s Boy Handicap (IL), $125,000-added 3yo & up 1 1/16 miles-turf
Sat. Nov. 10 Showtime Deb Stakes (IL), $125,000-added 2yo fillies 6 furlongs
Sat. Nov. 10 Sun Power Stakes (IL), $125,000-added 2yo colts & geldings 6 furlongs
Sat. Dec. 1 Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante (IL), $125,000 2yo fillies 1 1/16 miles
Sat, Dec. 8 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity (IL), $125,000 2yo colts & geldings 1 1/16 miles
Live racing, which concludes Sunday, Dec. 30, will be conducted every Wednesday-Sunday. First post daily is 1:40 p.m. with Friday post time at 2:40 p.m. through Nov. 23. Hawthorne Race Course is located in Stickney at 3501 S. Laramie Ave. For information on live racing or groups at Hawthorne Race Course, contact Hawthorne at 708-780-3700 or visit Hawthorne online at www.Hawthorneracecourse.com