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FRIDAY: WINTER THOROUGHBRED RACING RETURNS TO CHICAGO

FEBRUARY 11, 2013 (CHICAGO) Hawthorne Race Course will kick-off it's 122nd year of live thoroughbred racing on Friday, February 15. Located just 10 minutes from downtown, Chicago's hometown track will feature an opening weekend full of fan-based promotions that showcase the up-close excitement and economical entertainment of the historic sport of kings.

A day at the races is always exciting, but there's a unique buzz during spring racing, said Tim Carey, president and general manager of Hawthorne Race Course.  Cabin fever is starting to set in and sports fans want to get out of their houses and get into something with a lot of energy. We've completely remodeled our grandstands and now have over 1,000 high-def TVs, and indoor box seats right along the homestretch.   So you're still right up close to the action, but can bet some races and have a few beers in comfort while hanging out with your friends.

Hawthorne's opening weekend is rife with events and promotions.  Opening day will feature the fan favorite Pop Up Bonuses, where thousands of dollars in instant prize vouchers randomly pop out of betting machines when a wager is made.  Fans have the option to enjoy a special Lenten buffet lunch ($19.95) in the track's historic Gold Cup Dining Room on opening day, or $2 hot dog, nachos and beer specials in the grandstands. Admission on Fridays during the spring meet is also just $2.

Saturday will feature a buy one, get one brunch buffet ($21.95) in the Gold Cup dining room from 12:30-3:30. And on Sunday, Hawthorne's new on-track race analyst will host a Pool Party for new fans. For $20 players get a food and drink package, plus a share of winnings from a minimum $500 pool bet by Angela Hermann as she breaks down her wagering strategies.

The racing highlight of the meet will be the 56th running of the Illinois Derby (GIII), to be held on April 20. The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds received a 50% purse increase this year, with $750,000 up for grabs in the 2013 running of the race. "The Illinois Derby is the biggest dirt race in Illinois. It's a vibrant part of Chicago sports history and a great way to get ready for the Kentucky Derby," said Carey. We have a huge BBQ fest, live music, gate give-aways and so much more.  If you can only make it to one live race, this is the day you want to come to the track.

Hawthorne will host live racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from February 15 thru April.  Beginning in March the track will host live racing on Wednesdays.  Daily first post is at 1:35PM.

ABOUT HAWTHORNE RACE COURSE

Hawthorne Race Course has been Chicago's hometown track¯ for 122 years and currently offers the only traditional dirt racing for thoroughbreds in northern Illinois. Hawthorne's spring meet opens February 15th and runs through April. Live racing is hosted Friday thru Sunday in February and Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in March and April.  Daily post time is 1:35 PM, and admission costs $4.The historic track is located a half-mile north of I-55 on Cicero Avenue, and 2 miles south of I-290 on Laramie Avenue at 35th Street. For more information visit www.HawthorneRaceCourse.com or call Guest Services at 708-780-3733. Fans are welcome at Facebook.com/ClubHawthorne and for up-to-the-minute racing tips become a follower at Twitter.com/ClubHawthorne.

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