A story posted previously about Hawthorne's spring meet contained incorrect handle figures. Here is a corrected version of the story.
Hawthorne Race Course's spring meet continued to provide a popular turf racing "bridge" between winter/spring meets at Fair Grounds and Oaklawn Park, and the meet that just began at Arlington Park.
Despite running 30% fewer days than last year, the Chicago-area track posted some increases in average daily handle for full-card simulcasting, an increase in average total on-site wagering, and a relatively small decline in average all-sources total handle.
The average daily on-track handle for the 23-day meet dropped 7.4% to $245,800, down from $265,467 last spring. Total on-track wagering dropped 32.6% to $5,653,400 because the track raced 30 days a year ago.
Total combined handle dropped 27% to $79,763,678, but the average total handle dropped only 4.6% to $3,467,986 from $3,635,933 in 2001. Full-card simulcasting was responsible for reducing the declines in average handle and, in some cases, was responsible for an increase. The average daily full-card handle increased 9.6% to $1,381,899 from $1,261,002 a year ago. Wagering on simulcast races by patrons at Hawthorne rose 17.5% to an average $171,448, up from an average $145,928 last spring.
Field size rose a slight 1% to an average of 8.57 runners per race. Rainy weather forced 10 races off the grass and onto the main track.
Last year, Hawthorne began offering the earliest turf races seen in Illinois since 1977. It was also the first time in 11 years that Hawthorne ran a springtime meet.
Besides filling a grass-racing niche, Hawthorne likes the spring dates because it can run its premier events--the Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. II) and Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT)--during the Triple Crown.