Sportsman's Park will merge operations with its next-door neighbor, Hawthorne Race Course, and plans to conduct all racing at Hawthorne starting next year, officials of both tracks said July 31.
Illinois racing took a multimillion-dollar hit as Gov. George Ryan sliced up this year's overall state appropriations bill to deal with a budget crisis. Among the items cut by Ryan was money for the "recapture" of purse money.
Hawthorne Race Course's ended its 23-day spring meet with double digit increases in average on-track, full card, and total all-sources handle.
Fierce partisan warfare over the state budget blocked a last-minute, controversial flurry of race track-related legislation in the final hours of the "regular" spring session of the Illinois General Assembly.
The latest unlikely solution for a huge Illinois state budget crisis: Slot machines at racetracks.
Bob Kieckhefer -- Illinois racing. It's hard to figure out where to start thinking about the current state of affairs. Harder yet to figure out where things are going.
An odd turn of events threatens any chance for construction of a new riverboat casino in Rosemont, Ill., that is designed to pump tens of millions of dollars a year into the state's horse racing industry.
The 2002 Sportsman's Park Thoroughbred meet is expected to go on as scheduled even though Chicago Motor Speedway has decided to suspend auto racing this year.
Aided by balmy late fall weather, Hawthorne Race Course posted improved numbers for on-site and total handle during its November-December meet. Hawthorne wound up operations on New Year's Day.
The numbers have been released and they speak for themselves in the success of Hawthorne Spring racing meet. Through the introduction of the $100,000 Guaranteed Pick 6 and more importantly, the lowered take-out on all wagers, Hawthorne showed a gain in handle and excelled on all three Triple Crown days.
Rene Riera Jr. has resigned his post as chief state steward following an investigation into his role in distribution of a misleading workout time at Hawthorne Race Course.
The axiom "speed kills" holds true about every second race for Duckhorn. The other times he worries trainer Patrick Byrne half to death. Fortunately for Byrne and owner Michael Tabor, the "good" Duckhorn showed up for the $500,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) May 19. Of course, that was bad news for his half-dozen opponents, who spent a mile and a quarter watching the rear end of the roan 4-year-old colt.
Hawthorne Race Course, which carried the Thoroughbred sport in the Chicago-area during a two-year dark period at Arlington Park in the late 1990s, will open May 1 for the first of two meets and feature reduced takeout rates on wagers. The meet will mark the return of grass to the Chicago racing calendar.
In 2000, Sportsman's Park suffered from its conversion to a dual-use facility for horse and motor sports racing. With sight lines and other fan amenities compromised, attendance and handle sagged. To address the problems, Sportsman's Park spent several million dollars during the past year to improve its facility, then implemented an extensive fan outreach program to show off the changes.
The Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II), displaced from its fall date by a scheduling change, will be run this year on Preakness Day, May 19, for a purse of $500,000. The Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT) will be run on the Hawthorne turf on May 12. The changes are part of an overall stakes schedule of 15 events during Hawthorne's split meet. Six will be run during the spring, the remainder during the fall/winter season.
Weather conditions forced five tracks -- Turfway Park, Hawthorne Race Course, Mountaineer Park, Charles Town, and Penn National Race Course -- to cancel racing again on Friday. Friday's cancellation marks the seventh time in just over a week Turfway has canceled racing due to weather and Hawthorne's fifth such cancellation. Charles Town, Mountaineer and Penn National each have lost all or part of three cards recently.
The debut of Turfway Park's unique pick four wager will be delayed at least another day as the northern Kentucky track canceled racing for the second consecutive night Thursday.
Thunderhead Farms' Lady Gin trimmed over two seconds off the previous Hawthorne Race Course track record for about five furlongs on the turf Sunday, winning the $44,000 Wooden Star Stakes in :56.19 over firm turf. The previous track record of :58 4/5 was shared by three horses.
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