04/04/2012 3:57PM

Midwest Thoroughbreds to use Hawthorne as training center


Midwest Thoroughbreds, the nation’s leading owner in 2011, will lease two barns at Hawthorne Race Course this summer and use the track as a training center for about 100 horses.

Rich Papiese, who operates Midwest with his wife, Karen, said the Hawthorne string would include 30 to 40 2-year-olds who will be moved north from Midwest’s farm and training facility in Florida. The entire string will be overseen by Roger Brueggemann, one of several trainers – including Jamie Ness – employed by Midwest.

Midwest also has been allotted stalls at Arlington, but will keep the bulk of its Chicago-based horses at Hawthorne for the summer. Arlington’s racing surface is Polytrack while Hawthorne has a dirt track.

Papiese said the decision to train at Hawthorne doesn’t mean Midwest will de-emphasize the Arlington meet.

“We still plan to start more horses at Arlington than anyone,” he said.

Midwest and Hawthorne reached an agreement after a proposal to open Hawthorne for general summer training fell through.

“We were looking for the barn area to be open to everyone, and that didn’t work out,” Hawthorne assistant general manager Jim Miller said.

Midwest will stable in two barns that can house up to 200 horses. Hawthorne will provide a track maintenance crew, paramedics, and a starting gate, but not an outrider.