Thursday, April 30 2009

Hawthorne’s Spring Meet…Wet, but Encouraging

Stickney, IL--In spite of rainfall in both March and April that reached levels of historic proportions, Hawthorne Race Course continued to beat national trends, even posting a positive total- onsite-handle of 1.49 percent.

The 38-day meet featured the $500,000, Grade 2 Illinois Derby, won by Musket Man. The Derek Ryan-trained colt was sent off as the slight favorite in the field of ten and was a powerful winner under jockey Eibar Coa. Musket Man is scheduled to be the 8th consecutive Illinois Derby winner to compete in the Run for the Roses on May 2.

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Tuesday, April 28 2009

Jockey Inez Karlsson to Donate Final Day Earnings to Charities

Stickney, IL—As Hawthorne bids adieu to its spring thoroughbred meet, jockey Inez Karlsson will donate all of her mount’s earnings to charities, on Monday, the final day of racing. Proceeds from her earnings will be divided between the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund (PDJF) and The Bridge, an organization for youth and family services.

Karlsson chose what may be a particularly lucrative day for the recipients, as she has mounts in all ten of today’s races, and is chasing a riding title, in which she is three behind leader Tim Thornton.

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Sunday, April 26 2009

Champion’s Day Recap from Hawthorne Race Course

Wade, Williamson, Janks, Big Winners on Champion’s Day

Stickney, IL--Illinois Champion’s Day at Hawthorne became Lyndie Wade Day, as the young jockey from Louisiana won three of the six stakes races carded for Illinois-breds; he also finished second in another stakes race. Trainers Brian Williamson and Christine Janks also had success on Champion’s Day, winning two races apiece. The following is a recap of the afternoon’s racing, which had its usual share of long price winners sprinkled among the favorites.

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Friday, April 24 2009

Hawthorne Hosts Champions Day

Stickney, IL--Twice a year Hawthorne hosts a stakes day devoted to the Illinois-bred racehorse, each day offering a half-dozen $100,000 races that help decide year-end local champions. This afternoon’s lineup features two new stakes names: The Pretty Jenny Stakes, which replaces the Lady Hallie Stakes; and the Robert S. Molaro Handicap, which had been called the Chicagoland Handicap.

The day has a history of nice-price winners, so look outside the box, as we offer a glimpse into the Champion’s Day lineup.

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No Longer Just “Making Do”

The Permanently Disable Jockey Fund Helping Sixty Injured Riders

Stickney, IL--At Sportsman’s Park, on April 25, 1964, exactly 45 years ago, Dennis Keehan’s brief career as a thoroughbred jockey came to an abrupt halt. That was the day Keehan was thrown from his mount, “a gutsy, hard-trying type” named Red Streamer. Those were the words Keehan used to describe the horse that clipped heels on the far turn that fateful day, and left the young athlete a paraplegic.

Sadly, but realistically, Keehan’s story does not stand alone in the annals of horse racing. For all that is exciting about the game, danger lurks at every turn, and through its long history, scores of jockeys have either died, or been left permanently disabled as a result of injuries suffered on the job.

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Dream Payday Nearing the Finish Line

Stickney, IL.—The dream is alive for six players, who signed up for Hawthorne’s free online Survivor Contest in early March, hoping they could win the grand prize of $100,000. All they needed to do was pick a horse to finish in the money for the final 34 racing days in the meet, and with only five days left, these six can smell the finish line.

“We’re thrilled with the results.,” said Jim Miller, Assistant General Manager of Hawthorne Race Course. “The contest drew a lot of attention to our spring meet, and on the eve of our finale weekend we’re looking to finish the meet up in handle. That’s a win-win in my book.”

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Sunday, April 19 2009

‘Swift’ Tempers California Invader in Sixty Sails Handicap

Stickney, IL—The heavily favored California shipper, Santa Teresita certainly proved she could handle a dirt race track, but a tough trip and a game Swift Temper left Santa Teresita a head short of victory in the $200,000 Grade 3, Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course.

Trained by Dale Romans and ridden to victory by Chris Emigh, Swift Temper was sent immediately to the front end in the 1 1/8-miles test for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up. She reached the first quarter in a moderate 24.44, challenged only mildly by Mizzcan’tbewrong. By the time Swift Temper reached the half in 48.90, Santa Teresita had started to get bottled up on the rail, just behind the front-runner.

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Friday, April 17 2009

Santa Teresita Favored in Sixty Sails

The last and only time Santa Teresita took her game to a traditional dirt course, the outcome was, quite bluntly, underwhelming. She showed up in the Delaware Handicap last July, after finishing second to champion Zenyatta in her previous start, the Milady Handicap at Santa Anita, and finished seventh, beaten 26 ¼-lengths by Hysterical Lady. But maybe there’s more than meets the eye.

“It wasn’t a successful trip, to say the least,” said Nick Hines, racing manager for Southern Equine Stable, owners of Santa Teresita. “But I also think it was the perfect storm. She just had a tough race against an awesome filly, plus she was shipping for the first time, had a rough trip in the Delaware Handicap, and she even bled a little.”

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Wednesday, April 15 2009

Santa Teresita tries dirt again in Sixty Sails Handicap

Stickney, IL—California invader Santa Teresita has made quite the living winning multiple races on the west coast, earning $453,430 in the process. Included in her four lifetime wins is a Grade 1 triumph in the Santa Maria Handicap, and three other victories on either synthetics or turf. When she’s not winning, she’s been sharp in defeat, too; in her last start she was a clear second to Life is Sweet in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap. But what about her record on dirt? Good question and one that may be answered on Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course.

In Santa Teresita’s lone attempt on traditional dirt in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, she was a distant seventh, beaten 26 ¼-lenghts by Hysterical Lady. And while there are no apparent Hysterical Lady-types in this field, and her trip in the Delaware Handicap was far from clean, it would still seem reasonable—for now—to question her abilities over a track void of grass or manufactured products.

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Sunday, April 12 2009

Surviving For Big Dollars

Stickney, IL---When Hawthorne began another round of its popular Survivor Contest, 3,557 players were hoping for a chance at a grand prize of $100,000. Realistically, the smaller winning prize of $2,500 seemed like a more likely outcome. Maybe not anymore.

As of Saturday, April 11, there were still 38 contestants all vying for a chance at a life-altering payday, and with only 13 days of racing in the spring meet, hope springs eternal for the remaining players.

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Saturday, April 04 2009

Musket Man Fires Away in Illinois Derby Victory

Stickney, IL--Coming into the 52nd running of the Grade 2, $500,000 Illinois Derby, Eric Fein and Vic Carlson’s Musket Man was the lone entrant with a graded victory. When the 1 1/8 miles race for 3-year-olds had concluded, Musket Man was the only multiple graded stakes winner by virtue of a two-length victory over Giant Oak, stopping the clock in 1:49.91.

It was five lengths back to longshot His Greatness who was well clear for third.

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Thursday, April 02 2009

An Illinois Story-Local Connections in Rarified Air

Stickney, IL--Virginia and Rudy Tarra certainly hope so. It’s not often that an Illinois-owned 3-year-old is mentioned among the elite sophomores in the game. It’s far rarer when that runner was foaled in Illinois. Why this might be is a matter of conjecture but, needless to say, four leaf clovers are abundant in comparison.

Rudy Tarra was kind enough to talk about Giant Oak, the Virginia H Tarra Trust, and the state of racing in Illinois. I get a chance to run in a prestigious race like the Illinois Derby, you have to be excited. I consider him to be the best horse that we have ever had. I just hope we can do well Saturday.

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