08/31/2011 2:32PM

Hawthorne Gold Cup purse increase to $500,000 approved by Illinois Racing Board

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The stakes schedule for Hawthorne Race Course’s fall-winter 2011 meeting was approved at a meeting of the Illinois Racing Board on Tuesday in Chicago. Hawthorne delayed finalizing its fall 2011 stakes to more precisely determine about how much purse money it would have for its upcoming meet, and the release on Aug. 8 of almost $142 million to the racing industry in impact fees collected from four Illinois casinos is good news for the program.

The Hawthorne Gold Cup’s purse was halved in 2010, but the purse for this year’s race has been restored to $500,000, and the Gold Cup card on Oct. 8 also will include two supporting stakes, the $60,000 Indian Maid and the $60,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial. A week later, on Oct.  15, Hawthorne hosts the $175,000 Hawthorne Derby, while the six Illinois-bred stakes on Oct. 22 saw their purses boosted from $100,000 to $125,000.

The impact fees, which were legally contested by the affected casinos and have been awaiting dispersal for five years, are split between equine breeds and, further, between purses and track operators. Hawthorne received about $17  million in additional purse money, but applied $2.7 million to a longstanding purse-account deficit. Hawthorne plans to offer average daily overnight purse distributions of about $200,000, assistant general manager Jim Miller said Tuesday.

The meet begins Oct. 1.