Name: Hawthorne Race Course, Inc.
3501 S. Laramie Avenue, Stickney/Cicero, Illinois 60804 (click for map)
Telephone: (708) 780-3700
Fax: Racing Office: (708) 780-3757; Simulcasting: (708) 780-3790;
Press Box: (708) 780-3753
Founded by Edward Corrigan, Hawthorne Race Course first
opened on May 20, 1891. Only four racetracks – Saratoga, Churchill Downs,
Fair Grounds, and Pimlico – predate its existence. Four years after racing
was banned in Chicago in the year 1905, Corrigan sold the Hawthorne property
to Thomas Carey. Hawthorne has remained Carey-family owned ever since and,
in 2009, Hawthorne celebrated its 100th anniversary under their leadership.
Back in 1909, Thomas Carey repeatedly tried to revive Chicago racing. On
Labor Day of that year, Carey attempted to stage a racing program. After
only two races had been run, deputy sheriffs stopped the card. An attempt to
race in 1911 was met with similar resistance.
In 1916, the Illinois Jockey Club was granted permission to run a 13-day
“experimental” meet. Despite the success which ensued, it would be another
six years before Thoroughbreds would race again in Chicago.
In 1928, Hawthorne’s most prestigious race, the Hawthorne Gold Cup, was
inaugurated. The honor roll of great Thoroughbreds who have won the Gold Cup
includes Sun Beau, Equipoise, Round Table, Kelso, Dr. Fager, Black Tie
Affair, Buck’s Boy and Awesome Again.
Robert F. Carey took over as managing director of Hawthorne in 1947 and held
that post until his death in 1980. His son, Thomas F. Carey, assumed the
role of President and General Manager of Hawthorne Race Course, and still
serves as Chairman Emeritus. Before the 2005 meeting, his nephew, Tim Carey,
was named President and General Manager.
A multi-million dollar renovation was completed in 1998. The new look for
Hawthorne included the addition of four new party rooms, plush outdoor box
seats with individual television monitors, a full-service food court, a new
tele-timer system, new floors and ceilings, and a new lighting system to
accommodate evening harness racing.
In recent years, Hawthorne has seen a complete redesign of the grandstand
and the addition of more than 300 Hi-Def televisions. A new sports bar and
video wall have been added and work continues every year. On the track,
drainage systems on both the turf and dirt courses were upgraded with more
turf improvements in 2010.
Hawthorne was prominent in 2008 racing as three horses came out of the Grade
II Illinois Derby to compete in the Kentucky Derby. Illinois Derby winner
Recapturetheglory ran fifth in the Run for the Roses while Illinois Derby
competitor Denis of Cork ran even better and finished third in the Kentucky
Derby. Female apprentice rider Inez Karlsson may have been the story of the
meet, though, as she held off Chris Emigh's bid for a record 8th riding
title as she capped a huge year by winning the riding title for the fall
meet. In addition to the Hawthorne honors, Karlsson was recognized
nationally with a nomination for an Eclipse Award as leading apprentice in
the nation, finishing second in the voting to Paco Lopez.
In 2009, Hawthorne again provided a stepping stone to the Derby as top
runners competed in the Grade II $500,000 Illinois Derby. The real dirt
surface drew a full field and was won by stakes winner Musket Man. Musket
Man would then go on to finish third in the first two legs of the Triple
The trademark race of the fall meet is the Grade II $500,000 Hawthorne Gold
Cup Handicap. The 2011 running of the Grade II Hawthorne Gold Cup was one of
the deepest ever. The field consisted of five graded stakes winners and a
total of eight graded stakes placed horses. Graded stakes winner Headache
won the Gold Cup on his way to a start in the Breeders' Cup Classic. In
addition, Cease and multiple Grade I winner Giant Oak came out of the
Hawthorne Gold Cup to compete in the Breeders' Cup Marathon.
In 2013, Hawthorne again will have two meets. The spring meet will run from
February 15–April 28. The Sixty Sails Handicap will be held on April 20,
along with the Grade II Illinois Derby. For its 56th running, the 11/8-mile
race for 3-year-olds received a 50% purse increase, with $750,000 up for
grabs in the 2013 running of the race.
Racing returns in the fall on October 4 and continues through December 29.
Hawthorne is open year-round for simulcast wagering day and night, offering
a full plate of racing from North America and beyond.
President & General Manager:
Timothy S. Carey
Assistant General Manager:
Chairman Emeritus: Thomas F. Carey
Racing Secretary: Gary M. Duch
Director of Mutuels: John Demy
Director of Simulcasting:
Director of Security: Dennis Taylor
Director of Maintenance: Dave Benhart
Director of Marketing:
Chief Financial Officer: Jeff Kras
Track Superintendent: Gregorio Cardenas
Track Photographer: Four-Footed Fotos, (425) 271-9424
Seating capacity: 15,000
Track Data: Main Course, 1-mile oval with 6½-furlong chute; Turf
Course, 7 furlongs, 184 feet; stall capacity, 2,050
Nearest Cities: Chicago, 6 miles; Oakbrook, 10 miles
Nearest Airport: Midway Airport, 2 miles
Price of Admission: $3 - includes program