The richest dirt race in Illinois, the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. II) headlines the fall Thoroughbred season at Hawthorne Race Course. Hawthorne opens its 71-day meeting on Sept. 28.
The fall 2003 Hawthorne meet will offer more than $2.2 million in stakes purses. The Hawthorne Gold Cup heads the stakes schedule, running on opening day. On Oct. 11, the $150,000 Indian Maid Breeders' Cup will be contested over the turf course.
In the following weeks, pair of graded-stakes events takes place on the grass as the $250,000 Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT) will be run on Oct. 18 and the $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial (gr. IIIT) is on Nov. 1.
Illinois-breds take center stage on Nov. 8 with the renewal of the Phil Georgeff Illinois Festival of Racing. More than $600,000 will be distributed over the six state restricted stakes.
The $100,000 Robert F. Carey II Handicap will take place on Nov. 8 and the $100,000 Hawthorne Oaks the following weekend.
The stakes schedule winds up with 2-year-olds closing out the season with the $100,000 Illinois Breeders' Debutante on Dec. 13 and the $100,000 Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity on Dec. 20.
In the fall, Hawthorne races from Sept. 28-Jan. 3, running lice every Wednesday through Sunday. The track will conduct a live card on Oct. 13 and will be dark on Christmas Day. First post daily is 1:10 p.m., except Breeders' Cup Day when post time will be at noon.