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 horse
racing 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 Track Facts
Major Milestones in the History of Hawthorne Race Course
1890 - Edward Corrigan purchased the land and began construction on
the race track.
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
race course. 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.
Hawthorne Race Course
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
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
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.