Hawthorne increases purses for 2022 spring meet

By: Tom LaMarra

Posted: Feb. 11, 2022

Purses will increase across the board at Hawthorne Race Course for its 2022 spring meet, and some race categories will receive substantial hikes, according to the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

The 35-day meet begins Saturday, April 2, and concludes Saturday, June 25. There will be eight stakes, each worth $75,000.

Maiden special weight events for the meet will be set at $40,000, up 81.8% from $22,000 during the 2021 fall meet. Purses for the three levels of allowance races will be $42,000, $44,000 and $46,000—all up more than 82%.

Purse increases were made possible due to supplemental purse funds appropriated through the Illinois state budget after lobbying by the ITHA.

“We’re grateful to the Hawthorne management team for hearing our appeal and agreeing to raise the maiden and allowance purses higher than originally advertised in the previous condition book,” ITHA President Chris Block said. “This is a difficult time for Illinois Thoroughbred horse racing and our members appreciate the short-term boost.”

Hawthorne, currently open for the winter Standardbred meet, will offer a summer harness meet from June 30-Sept. 10. Thoroughbred racing will return in the fall with a meet that runs from Sept. 23 through Dec. 31. Tracks officials and horsemen’s groups compromised on the schedule, which was necessitated by the fact Hawthorne is the only Chicago-area facility racing this year.