Edited press release
Chicago-area Thoroughbred racing action shifts Sept 15 to Hawthorne Race Course, where officials are encouraged by the number of stall applications--2,400 for 2,050 spots. Last fall, Hawthorne averaged more than nine horses per race.
Hawthorne will offer 78 programs through Dec. 31 with live racing five days per week on a Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule. Hawthorne will be dark Nov. 23, Thanksgiving Day, and have a special live program Oct. 9, Columbus Day.
First post Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays will be 1:10 p.m. Central time. Friday post time through Nov. 24 will be 3 p.m.; thereafter it will be 1:10 p.m.
Six-time leading jockey Chris Emigh, gunning for his fifth consecutive title, and Francisco Torres, who almost took the Arlington Park title away from Emigh, will ride the meet, as will Earlie Fires, Randall Meier, E.T. Baird, Jesse Campbell, Shane Laviolette, Larry Sterling Jr., Carlos Marquez Jr., Eddie Martin Jr., Eusebio Razo Jr., Carlos Silva, Jose Ferrer, and apprentice Tyler Riggs.
Four-time Hawthorne training titlist Tom Tomillo, who captured the spring crown with 28 wins, has been allocated 55 stalls for the fall meet. Wayne Catalano, second to Tomillo at Hawthorne this spring in advance of capturing his fifth Arlington crown in the last seven years, has 44 horses stabled at Hawthorne.
Other trainers at Hawthorne include Scott Blasi (44 stalls), Chris Block (40), Roger Brueggemann (37), Bret Calhoun (30), Jim DiVito (27), Hawthorne's all time leading trainer Richard Hazelton (30), Christine Janks (38), five-time Hawthorne titlist Frank Kirby (50), five-time Hawthorne king Mike Reavis (47), Hugh Robertson (30), Mike Stidham (35), Brian Williamson (38), and Moises Yanez (38).
Newcomers to Hawthorne include Kay Cooper (12), Tom Proctor (22), Clark Hanna (five), and Austin Smith (26).
The Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II), centerpiece of the fall meet, is slated for Sept. 30. It could serve as a steppingstone to the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup World Championships. Black Tie Affair, who won the 1990 Gold Cup, won the 1991 Classic (gr. I); 1997 winner Buck's Boy won the 1998 Turf (gr. IT); and 1998 winner Awesome Again won the 1998 Classic.
The Gold Cup is part of a three-stakes package that includes a pair turf stakes--the $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap (gr. IIIT) and the $100,000 Indian Maid Handicap. Other highlights on the stakes schedule include the $150,000 Hawthorne Derby (gr. III), to be run Oct. 14, and the Nov. 11 Phil Georgeff Festival of Racing, featuring six $100,000 stakes for Illinois-breds.