• By Mike Paradise   Illinois’ long reining trotting queen Annas Lucky Star will be back to compete as a seven-year-old during the current Hawthorne meeting.   “Over the winter I was thinking about retiring her more

  • By Mike Paradise   The initial Saturday night card of the 2021 Hawthorne harness racing meeting pivots to put the emphasis on a pair of Illinois champions knocking heads for the first time this year. more

  •   By Mike Paradise At long last harness racing returns to the Chicago circuit tonight.  It has been more than seven months since Hawthorne’s 2020 meeting concluded.   The much-anticipated 2021 session gets under way more

  • By Mike Paradise You’ve heard the phrase “fly on the wall” on numerous occasions nevertheless I want to borrow it one last time for my final column of the year. In my case I would more

  • By Mike Paradise For many ICF pacers and trotters this year’s Illinois racing season isn’t quite over yet. Instead they’ll compete in Saturday’s Fall Classic raced on the State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The Illinois Department more

  • By Mike Paradise The leading trainer at the recently concluded Hawthorne meet wasn’t determined until the last race, the 15th, on the final program this past Sunday night. When it was all over Springfield based more

  • By Mike Paradise The 2020 Night of Champions at Hawthorne is in the history books and unlike last year’s card on a rainy evening and sloppy track, this one was contested over clear skies and more

  • By Mike Paradise Eleven ICF champions will be crowned tonight as Hawthorne Race Course hosts its annual showcase event of its meeting, the Night of Champions. Unlike other Night of Champions events, and for that more

  • Suddenly it’s Almost Here

    By Mike Paradise Normally my column on the eve of Hawthorne’s Night of Champions would read about “the long wait is over” and “the most anticipated” evening of the Illinois racing season is here. But more

  • By Mike Paradise Fifty-five year-old Todd Warren reached a major driving milestone last night when he brought home his 5,000th career winner. The Mattoon, Illinois native joined an exclusive driver club by rallying Tappin Outasmessage more

  • By Mike Paradise Illinois bred three-year-old pacers and trotters will be the focus of attention Saturday night when they tangle for the last time prior to next week’s Night of Champions, Hawthorne’s yearly showcase evening more

  • By Mike Paradise This Friday and Saturday at Hawthorne could be signified as “D-Days” for a number of two and three-year-old Illinois bred pacers and trotters. In this particular case the “D” stands for the more

  • By Mike Paradise Steve Searle stable’s Lousraptor, driven patiently by Juan Franco, came on strong in the lane to win last night’s $10,500 Open Trot and snap Annas Lucky Star’s winning streak at four in more

  • By Mike Paradise The Queen of Illinois trotters is back in action tonight and she certainly has a tough task ahead to extend her latest winning streak and keep her extraordinary record of success intact more

  • By Mike Paradise It’s hard to believe that it is already September and there are just three weekends of racing left at Hawthorne for the year. Nevertheless that’s the case and the of march to more

  • By Mike Paradise A pair of “Lou’s” continued to rule their respective ICF filly trotting divisions. First it was Lous Abigail (Casey Leonard) extending her winning streak to four in a row with a convincing more

  • By Mike Paradise The second half of Du Quoin historic long-standing ICF stake races will be contested tonight and all four added money events are for fillies of both gaits. That means that trainer Steve more

  • By Mike Paradise For the second consecutive summer the Du Quoin State Fair races will be contested at Hawthorne Race Course. Last year it was a steady diet of rain that eventually made it necessary more

  • By Mike Paradise Horse racing players tuning in to Hawthorne for the first time Sunday might think the racetrack is practicing “social distancing” with horses in its co-features. After all, in the seventh race Open more

  • By Mike Paradise Four more Illinois State Fair championships will be decided Saturday night, all for ICF fillies and mares of both gaits. After last weekend’s preps and eliminations the stake that figures to get more

  • By Mike Paradise Its showdown time this weekend at Hawthorne for eight State Fair Championships. The cream of the two and three-year-old ICF male pacers and trotters will duke it out tonight for division bragging more

  • By Mike Paradise “Chalk players” feasted on last night’s Hawthorne card loaded with Illinois bred stake elimination and preps heading into next week’s finals originally scheduled at the now defunct Springfield State Fair. Nevertheless the more

  • By Mike Paradise In these extraordinary times we’ve come to expect some unusual occurrences to come about and this weekend is one of those cases in point. The normal 12 or 13 racing Hawthorne card more

  • By Mike Paradise This weekend Springfield races come to Hawthorne. Tonight it’s a heavy dose of the colt and gelding ICT stake races on the Hawthorne card. Saturday night it’s a bevy of state-bred filly more

  • By Mike Paradise In an effort to spread around the modest purse money currently being distributed Hawthorne has put a couple of wrinkles into Sunday’s race card with an Open II Pace for the boys more

  • By Mike Paradise Unlike the Open Paces at the meet that have been pretty much  dominated by two horses in their respective classes, Hawthorne’s Open Trot seems to have a different winner each time it more

  • By Mike Paradise Not all the harness racing in Illinois this week is taking place at Hawthorne Race Course. The Springfield State Fair Grounds played host Tuesday afternoon for 13 Downstate Classics, featuring the majority more

  • By Mike Paradise Everybody loves a winning horse, especially when that pacer or trotter rattles off a streak of successful races in a row. Going into Sunday night we have two pacers doing just that more

  • By Mike Paradise It’s not often the best race of the night is the opener but that’s the way this author perceives Saturday’s Hawthorne card. It’s not a high-end conditioned trot however it doesn’t lack more

  • By Mike Paradise For the first time since the start of the 2020 Hawthorne Standardbred meeting back in February a horse not named Fox Valley Gemini or Castle Flight tonight will defend the role as more