Spring Racing Returns to Hawthorne

Live racing returns to Hawthorne as the National Jockey Club at Hawthorne meeting begins March 1, running 48 days through May 8.

The spring stakes schedule will be comprised of 10 stakes races, highlighted by three graded stakes events. Headlining the spring is the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) to be run on April 5. In 2002, the Illinois Derby was the final stop for War Emblem as he parlayed his win in the Illinois Derby to victories in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, both grade I

For the 2003 edition, 135 horses have nominated early for the Illinois Derby.

A pair of Grade 3 events will be contested in mid-April as the $250,000 National Jockey Club Handicap will be run on April 19 and the $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap will take place on April 26. A staple of the spring Illinois season also returns, as Illinois-breds will be featured on April 12 as six, $100,000 added events will be contested.

In 2003, Hawthorne Race Course will be hosting three racing meets. The National Jockey Club at Hawthorne meet races from March 1 – May 8. The Suburban Downs at Hawthorne harness meeting runs from May 13 – June 30. Thoroughbreds return for Hawthorne's fall Thoroughbred meet to take place from Sept. 28 –Dec. 31.

Post time for the live Thoroughbred meet is 1:10 PM daily, Noon on Kentucky Derby Day.