Suburban Downs

Suburban Downs holds harness racing at Hawthorne Race Course in Stickney/Cicero, Illinois. The track is located about eight miles from Chicago. Suburban Downs, Inc. is the entity that conducts the harness racing meet at the Illinois track and has done so since 1970.

Suburban Downs carries out its harness meets during the summer months while Hawthorne Racecourse conducts its own thoroughbred racing meets during the spring and fall.

Suburban Downs at Hawthorne Racecourse is situated on 119 acres, between Laramie and Cicero Avenues, at 35th Street and is one of Illinois' most prominent horse racing facilities.

Major harness racing stakes races conducted by Suburban Downs at Hawthorne Racecourse include:

  • The Erwin F. Dygert Memorial
  • The Robert F. Carey, Jr. Memorial
  • The Plesac
  • The Star Slinger
  • The Fox Valley Dynamic
  • The Fox Valley Evita
  • The Gumcorner Lad

Suburban Downs Track Facts

Track Opened : 1890
First Harness Race : 1970
Speed Ratings : 1:58.3
Length of Homestretch : 1,320'
Width of Homestretch : 85'
Starters Behind the Gate : 9
Hubrail? : No
"Open" Stretch? : Yes
Grandstand Capacity : 8,000
Clubhouse Capacity : 5,000
Parking Capacity : 10,000

History of Suburban Downs and 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.

1970

  • Harness racing was held for the first time at Hawthorne Race Course and was conducted by Suburban Downs, Inc. The summer harness racing meet at Hawthorne has since been known as Suburban Downs at Hawthorne Race Course.

1995

  • On February 4, Bret's Avenger, driven by Brian Pinske, paced to an all-age track record of 1:52 3/5 in the first division of the Suburban Downs Pacing Derby.

1996

  • On February 4, Ball and Chain won the first six-figure pacing event in Hawthorne harness history, the $100,000 Suburban Downs Free-For All Pacing Derby.
  • For the first time in its 27-year history, eliminations were held for the Erwin F. Dygert Memorial Trot. Night Court Dan and Federal Yankee won the eliminations and the latter captured the $100,000 Final in stakes record time of 1:56 2/5.

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