Full race fields helped handle figures stay on par during the fall Thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne racecourse that ended Sunday.Once again producing the fullest fields in the state of Illinois, Hawthorne averaged 9.23 starters per race for the fall meet, which ran from Sept. 24, 2004 – Jan. 2, 2005. Total daily handle on the 2004 Hawthorne fall meet held nearly even with 2003 as the daily average handle of $2,812,723 in 2004 was down slightly from the $2,828,140 wagered per day in 2003. On-site numbers were also down only slightly as $199,432 per day was wagered on site in 2004 compared to the $204,395 wagered at Hawthorne in the fall of 2003. Out of state numbers did rise slightly though as the simulcasting signal produced an average daily handle of $2,200,474 per day in 2004 compared to the $2,191,717 wagered per day on Hawthorne's races in 2003.
Jockey Chris Emigh captured his third Hawthorne riding title, leading all riders with 69 victories for the fall eet. On the training end, Frank Kirby capped a big year as he followed his training title at the Arlington Park summer meet with another narrow win, edging out multiple Hawthorne training champion Mike Reavis by one win as Kirby saddled 26 winners to Reavis' 25. Owner Frank Calabrese won his fourth consecutive title for leading owner at Hawthorne as his runners posted 16 wins for the fall meet. Hawthorne is closed for live racing for seven weeks before reopening on Friday, February 25 for the spring Thoroughbred meet.