Hawthorne 2017

As many of you already know, Hawthorne Racecourse has submitted their date’s application to the Illinois Racing Board for 2017. In that application they requested 80 nights of harness racing, four nights per week, from May 11 through September 24. That schedule is down from 102 nights that we anticipate racing this year. It also means that we would have no live harness racing in Illinois for over a seven month period, starting from when we end this year in four weeks. From as far back as most could remember, there has never been such a lapse in our Illinois harness schedule. With the understanding that Hawthorne also races a Spring and Fall thoroughbred meet, the opportunity to increase our racing opportunities is a very difficult task. We have reached out to Hawthorne, trying to get them to amend their date’s application to include a winter harness meet, similar to this year, so far, to no avail. Racing dates for 2017 are scheduled to be made official at the September 27, IRB meeting. Until that time we will continue to discuss, debate and argue our dire predicament with Hawthorne in an attempt to persuade them to host a winter meet in order to try and salvage what is left of our future. We will update everyone as this issue unfolds.