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Illinois Derby purse cut in half

Hawthorne Race Course received permission from the Illinois Racing Board on Tuesday to reduce the purse of the Grade 3 Illinois Derby from $500,000 to $250,000. The racing board also approved Hawthorne’s request to postpone the Grade 3, $200,000 Sixty Sails until sometime during the track’s fall meet, and to eliminate four Sundays from the Hawthorne race dates the board had approved last fall.


Hawthorne posted moderate overall handle gains during its fall-winter 2010 meet, but had to work to overcome a large purse-account overpayment by stocking its cards with lower-class races. Hawthorne – and all of Illinois racing – had hoped by the start of its 2011 spring meet to have positive news about revenue sources outside racing, but the Illinois legislature earlier this month rebuffed racing-industry efforts to operate ontrack gaming parlors.

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