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.”

For the players that remain, it must be both thrilling and nerve-racking, when considering the prize that might await the winner. Earl Innis, a semi-regular player at Hawthorne, and a Club Hawthorne member, can’t believe how exciting this contest has been become, and just hopes he can survive a few more tantalizing days.

“This has been a wild ride for me,” Innis said. “I played the first Survivor contest in the fall and was out the first week. Now I just need to find a few more horses to finish in the money. It’s not about winning, it’s about surviving!”

Charles Pavlich of Houston, Texas, is a big fan of Hawthorne and, he too, has gotten edgy as the contest winds down, but he’ll continue to go about business as usual.

“I play Hawthorne almost every day they are running, and I’ll definitely continue to play the next meet,” Pavlich said. “I pick the horses the morning of the races, and I also like to see all of the track’s handicapper’s picks to make my selection.”

Hawthorne’s spring meet moves very quickly, serving as a kind-of preamble to the Triple Crown races, so this contest has brought great excitement to the meet, aside from the racing itself. And even if Hawthorne does have to pay some lucky person a cool $100,000, it has no plans on stopping there.

“We’ll absolutely run another contest in the fall, maybe for even more money,” Miller said. “It generates excitement in our racing, and makes the racing community take notice. I see nothing wrong with any of those things.”

A free contest where the winner can walk away with a six-figure payday has gotten the attention of horse players throughout the country. And it looks like more players will have the chance once again…in the fall.