01/02/2002 1:00AM

Hawthorne business jumps


Business was up significantly at the 47-day Hawthorne meet that ended Tuesday. All-sources handle at the Stickney, Ill., track was up 26 percent over similar dates last year, with the daily average of $2,451,178 far surpassing the $1,947,483 in 2000. These figures were more impressive considering that Arlington was the Chicago host for Breeders' Cup simulcast wagering this year, whereas Hawthorne was the host in 2000.

Daily ontrack handle averaged $226,198, up more than 6 percent from last year. Breeders' Cup figures were excluded for comparison purposes.

Hawthorne officials attributed the increases to several factors, including field size (9.15 starters per race), lowered takeout (by 2 percent), a guaranteed pick six during early in the meet, and good weather that allowed for considerably more turf racing than usual.

In racing action, Shane Laviolette won his first jockey crown by outlasting veteran Randy Meier, who chose not to ride the last two days of the meet.

Among trainers, veteran Tom Tomillo sent out 23 winners, two more than Ron Goodridge. The leading owner was Noel Hickey's Irish Acres Farm.