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HRN Original Blog:
Head Heart & Hooves

Illinois Racing Notes in Anticipation of the Hawthorne Spring Meet

Here in Illinois, advanced deposit wagering is still illegal. The legislature is supposed to be addressing the issue in the very near future, but there is cause for concern if the ADW issue becomes part of a larger gaming bill. Hopefully a bill addressing only this issue will be tabled and quickly approved. Allowing the previous bill to expire was an unfortunate oversight by the legislature, which will ideally address that lapse without further ado. As expected, the sting of missing a winner is much worse than the relief of avoiding a loser.

For now, however, those of us in Illinois will just have to get out to the track! Hawthorne's spring meet opens this Friday, February 15th and runs through Sunday, April 28th. While the Illinois Derby was snubbed last year when it was excluded from the new Kentucky Derby points system, the Illinois Racing Board unanimously approved Hawthorne's request to increase the purse from $500,000 to $750,000.

While at first sight that may appear to mitigate the impact of being worth no "Derby points," changing the date of the Illinois Derby to April 20th this year means that it will have no impact on the more famous derby regardless. Thus, instead of being a relatively minor Kentucky Derby prep, it will serve as a stepping stone to the Preakness or Belmont.

Rather than lament its insignificance in relation to the Kentucky Derby, I will enjoy the Illinois Derby this year for its own sake, as usual. Hawthorne has consistently provided a wonderful racing environment for us Chicagoans - save perhaps the indoor basement paddock, but I digress - and Illinois racing fans are surely looking forward to the return of live racing. Perhaps this opening day will draw a few more bettors than those of year's past, considering we can legally place a wager at 35th and Laramie.

 

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Older Comments about Illinois Racing Notes in Anticipation of the Hawthorne Spring Meet...

I'm from Illinois and nothing the legislators do or don't do rather doesn't suprise me 1 bit. This state is hurting for cash and they let the agreement expire . They are costing themselves and this state big bucks at a time when we need it most.I think they are focused on the poker and gambling machines they are installing in the bars and other places to get their share of tax money.I hope they reach an agreement and re-up it for us horse players.It's very costly to drive to the OTB's and tracks daily if they are very far away with the price of fuel on the rise .
  • head_heart_hooves · Hurting for cash, yet they allow a bill which provided $1.7 million in tax receipts to lapse? ADW revenue funded 28% of the Racing Board's budget last year. I'm curious to know what the Racing Board did to influence the legisalature to address the matter... · 527 days ago
@Andy-I live in Kansas where off track betting is illegal and there are no tracks at all, so I am doubly screwed
Welcome to my world in NJ, where we can only use wagering provided by the tracks, no twinspires or expressbet or TVG, only the primitive NJBets.
Snub or no snub, I look forward to seeing you at the Illinois Derby, Alex!
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Meet Alex Fawell 

Unlike many, I did not grow up with horseracing. My first time at the races was the 2008 Kentucky Derby. I bet on Colonel John. That fall, I had the good fortune to go to England, where I visited Ascot and Kempton. When I returned to the U.S., I was hooked. I started reading handicapping books, studying historic sire lines, watching races and going to Portland Meadows regularly. While the purses there were small, I was able to be close to the action and see firsthand the day-to-day operations of an average American racetrack.

 

Last year I moved home to Chicago. I went to Arlington for the first time this year. In the interim, I have devoted my time to understanding all aspects of horseracing  I hope to provide unique isights on handicapping perspectives and multifaceted analyses on the state of horseracing today. I will strive to write with an open mind and a willingness to learn through the writing process. I will not claim to be an expert, but I will read thoroughly, write carefully, and be honest.

 

To me, the all-time greats are Kelso, John Henry, Round Table and Yeats. Horses I like because they have won me money include Raven's Pass, Alternation, and I'll Have Another. The greatest horse I have even seen live is Zenyatta. I also enjoy the Bears, the Bulls, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, Mexican food, good Bourbon, and old-time music - specifically that played on the 5-string banjo. Thanks for reading!