Hawthorne Race Course will begin the 2013 live Thoroughbred racing season in the Chicago area Feb. 15 for a 49-day winter/spring meet that concludes April 28.
Hawthorne will offer live racing Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through April, with Wednesdays added in March. First post time is 1:35 p.m. CST.
Officials said the grandstand has been remodeled with more than 1,000 high-definition televisions and indoor box seats in front of the homestretch.
The grade III Illinois Derby, with a beefed-up purse of $750,000, is scheduled for April 20. Because it wasn't included in the points qualifying system for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), officials believe it will serve as a prep for the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), second leg of the Triple Crown.
The $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares also is set for April 20. Six $100,000 stakes for Illinois-conceived and foaled horses will be offered April 27.