Hawthorne Horseracing

Hawthorne Race Course is located in Cicero, Illinois. The track features thoroughbred racing in the spring and fall and harness racing in the summer.

Hawthorne Race Course is situated on 119 acres, between Laramie and Cicero Avenues, at 35th Street. It is one of Illinois' most prominent horseracing tracks. Among the major stakes events held here are the Illinois Derby, the Governor's Lady Handicap and the Sixty Sails Handicap.

Hawthorne Race Course Facts

  • Main Track: One Mile
  • Turf Course: 148 feet
  • Length of Stretch: 1,320 feet
  • Width of Stretch: 75 feet
  • Barns: 17
  • Stalls: 2,100
  • Track Capacity: 35,000

Major Milestones of Hawthorne Race Course

1890 - Edward Corrigan purchased the land and began construction on the racetrack.

1891 - An estimated 6,000 people attended Hawthorne Race Course's opening day on May 20. The centerpiece race of the day was the Chicago Derby, a 1/4-mile race won by Brookwood, owned by Edward Corrigan.

1902 - The Hawthorne Race Course grandstand burned to the ground on May 30th and the remainder of the Spring meet was transferred to nearby Harlem racetrack. On August 18, however, racing returned to Hawthorne Race Course for the start of a 12-day late summer session.

1905 - Racing was banned in Chicago.

1909 - Edward Corrigan sold Hawthorne Race Course to Thomas Carey.

1922 - Racing returned to Chicago on September 30 with a 13-day meeting.

1931 - An electric timer was used at Hawthorne Race Course, thus becoming the first major course in the United States to use one.

1934 - A new paddock was built. It was located between the grandstand and the clubhouse.

1937 - A record $7,557,896 was handled during the 24-day meeting, the largest amount ever handled (over a similar period) by a Chicago course.

1940 - The new Bahr starting gate made its debut at Hawthorne Race Course.

1943 - South suburban Lincoln Fields moved its meet to Hawthorne Race Course due to wartime racing restrictions. Hawthorne played host to Lincoln Field's spring dates from 1943 until 1947.

On May 31, Hawthorne registered its first $1 million handle day.

1946 - On May 30, Hawthorne registered the largest crowd ever to pass through the gates. A total of 39,033 people bet a then-record $1,730,117 on the Memorial Day card during the Lincoln Fields meeting.

Daily average handle surpassed the $1 million mark during the Lincoln Fields at Hawthorne spring meeting when a daily average 14,375 fans bet an average of $1,014,435.

1963 - Hawthorne Race Course enjoyed its first $2 million handle day on Gold Cup Day with $2,037,297 passing through the mutuel windows.

1970 - Harness racing was held for the first time.

1978 - On November 19 another fire completely destroyed the grandstand.

1980 -On September 29, the Hawthorne Race Course had its official grand re-opening.

1987 - Off-course wagering debuted in Illinois.

1992 - Hawthorne's daily average handle exceeded $2 million.

1998 - The racing schedule was reduced to five days per week.

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