05/06/2003 11:00PM

Hawthorne meet a success


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Hawthorne National, the loosely merged entity comprising Hawthorne Race Course and the National Jockey Club, concluded its first racing season Tuesday, posting positive business figures.

Compared with a similar schedule last year at the defunct Sportsman's Park, Hawthorne showed gains in several categories. All-sources betting on live Hawthorne races rose 17.8 percent from last year, reaching a daily average of $2,418,913, compared with $2,054,331 for the same days in 2002.

Instate betting - from Hawthorne and offtrack betting outlets statewide - on Hawthorne races rose by a more modest 4.5 percent, but out-of-state handle on Hawthorne's card was up sharply, more than 22 percent over similar racing dates last year.