02/24/2016 3:00PM

Hawthorne likely to cut spring stakes

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Hawthorne Race Course is likely to run its 2016 spring meet, which starts March 11, without any stakes races, channeling all the resources of the purse account into overnight races.

The plan to do away with the spring stakes schedule “is still being talked about, but is probably going to happen,” according to track president Tim Carey. “We’ll make a final decision within the next couple weeks.”

If the plan goes forward, it would mean the Illinois Derby, a decades-old race that in 2002 produced the Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem, would not be run this spring. The Sixty Sails Handicap, a prominent spring fixture for older female dirt-route horses, also would disappear, for this year, at least. Carey said there have been discussions about running the Illinois Derby in the fall, but that would probably only happen if the Illinois state government passes a statewide gambling-expansion bill that would permit racetracks to install slot machines.

Hawthorne ran three stakes worth a total of $500,000 last spring, but that money is needed for overnight purses, Carey said. Hawthorne averaged about $125,000 per day in overnight purses during its spring 2015 meet, but even using the stakes money for overnights, that figure will drop to $115,000 this year, Carey said.

“We’ve talked to the [Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association], and it’s been about trying to keep the overnights as high as possible,” said Carey. “We’re doing that while we wait for something to happen in Springfield.”

Michael Catalano More than 1 year ago
Owners from the Illinois area see how much the purse money is around the country that they would be better off taking their stables to other tracks. Allowance purses in Illinois are about $21,000 and in New York or Florida that same purse money is some around $50-$75 Please give the Chicago tracks slot machines so they can be competitive with all the other tracks around the country! Take Streamline a horse from Illinois won $60,000 at Oaklawn. Never would that have happened in Illinois.
Mike Marsico More than 1 year ago
Looking at Arlington's first condition book the Allowance purses are going up to 34K, they were 21K last year so that is a slight improvement. Hawthorne had already announced that the Spring meet would be a struggle but Fall 2016 should see a boost in purses. Obviously this isn't great but at least it isnt as bad as last summer.
Michael Catalano More than 1 year ago
Illinois better get things together real quick or the horse racing industry be gone. Arlington was once a grade A horse racing track now it is more like a double AA. My family is from Wisconsin we used to visit Arlington four days a week now they don't even run four days a week. Think about the great jockeys who were there all summer long Pat Day Earlie Fires Eddie D plus the classic trainers Vanier Catalano and Hazelton. Wake up Illinois!!!
Omar Razvi More than 1 year ago
who cares about Illinois derby with no points towards Kentucky derby you get to watch pletcher/baffert 4th stringers take a quarter million out of Chicago and they don't even show up for the picture. money should be given to local horseman who can barely afford to feed their horses!!!!
Eleanor Sniegowski More than 1 year ago
What ?no run for the dandelions (A Dave Feldman saying)this year.Very bogus!
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
Keep the smaller stables alive with larger purses in claiming and condition races is a good idea. But you could use that stakes money as grand opening to takeout being cut in half. The fans will be rewarded more money, which leads to more money in the wallet and larger amounts wagered. The public prefers lower takeout, trust and how well they are treated. The casinos win in all three categories and horse racing will never change.
Robert Potter More than 1 year ago
I wouldn't be holding my breath that anything will come this year out of the Illinois legislature.
TRacingLifeMore More than 1 year ago
There's something very wrong with needing slots to save horse racing. You aren't fixing horse racing that way. You're using a completely separate product to band aid a struggling product!
Eric Cleveland More than 1 year ago
Illinois Horse Racing is in trouble...need the slots!!!