Hawthorne Race Course, which carried the Thoroughbred sport in the Chicago-area during a two-year dark period at Arlington Park in the late 1990s, will open May 1 for the first of two meets and feature reduced takeout rates on wagers.
Hawthorne will race May 1-June 10, and Oct. 31-Dec. 31. For the spring meet, racing will be held Friday through Tuesday; in the fall and winter, it will be offered Wednesday through Sunday.
The new takeout rates will apply to wagers made on Hawthorne races on and off track. The rate for win, place, and show bets will be 15%, down from 17%. The rate for two-horse exotics will be 18.5%, down from 20.5%. Exotics that involve three or more horses will have a rate of 23%, down from 25%.
"On the reduction in takeout, our intent is to give the players something back regardless of their level of play," said Tom Carey III, the track's director of operations. "It will definitely put more money back into their pockets and increase the churn."
Hawthorne will offer a $100,000 guaranteed pick 6 wager on opening day. The track's May 1 start means turf racing will begin earlier than usual in Illinois.