Illinois Derby Likely to Send Winner to Louisville, Helps Launch $5,000 FREE Bet Sweepstakes

Stickney, IL (April 6, 2011)—With a full field size of contenders and a $300,000 purse at stake, the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne Race Course is on track to send its 10th consecutive winner to the “Race for the Roses.”  Chicago’s ‘hometown track’ will kick-off its marquee racing weekend with its 4th Annual Loop Rock Girl Derby Bash and a FREE sweepstakes to win the chance to place a $5,000 bet on the Kentucky Derby.

“Just like the Cubs and Sox, we’ve been in spring training since February, but April is in many ways the real start of our season,” said Tim Carey, President and General Manager of Hawthorne Race Course.  “We just switched to a late 2:30 post time on Fridays, we’re giving away $10,000 in free bets on the Kentucky Derby and we have a great, great line-up for the most important dirt race in Illinois.  This is when racing starts to get really fun.”

The $5000 Kentucky Derby SuperBet Sweepstakes begins on Friday, April 8th and will run through April 30th.  Fans can enter for free at as well as earn unlimited additional entries at Hawthorne and any Club Hawthorne Off-Track Betting parlor.  Club OTBs are located at:

–        The Ultimate Sports Bar, Yorkville

–        Bookie Magee’s, Joliet

–        The Foundry, Aurora

–        Stoney Point Grill, Mokena

–        Adam’s Rib House, Buffalo Grove

–        Corliss Street OTB, Chicago

“We ran a similar promotion last fall for the Breeders’ Cup and the response was overwhelming from both players and new fans,” said Carey.  “When you really think about how you would bet $5000 the excitement can be pretty overwhelming.  Do you bet it all on the favorite, or play the long-shot and hope for another Mine That Bird at 50:1?  Or split it up and box the field?  Our sweepstakes winner in the fall just missed winning over a quarter million dollars, but still walked away with several thousand.”

The 54th Annual Illinois Derby will host 12 contenders for the Kentucky Derby featuring the 7-2 morning line favorite Watch Me Go, who won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby on March 12.  However, Hawthorne’s Assistant General Manager, Jim Miller, is quick to point out that there are several contenders in the race.  “Hawthorne is one of the best prep races for the Kentucky Derby because we have a traditional dirt track like Churchill, and the 2nd longest homestretch in North America.  When they come out of that last turn, it’s anyone’s race.  Saturday’s weather looks perfect, sunny and 60-degrees so this is going to be an awesome day of sports entertainment in Chicago!”

The Loop Rock Girl Derby Bash, now in its 4th year, will feature 30 Rock Girl contenders each beginning the run for their own crown as the annual Rock Girl search heads into its homestretch.  The party will take place on Friday, April 8th in Hawthorne’s grandstands and will feature: $2 admission, $2 hot dogs, $2 beers and a live broadcast from 3-7PM.

The Field for the Grade 3, $300,000 TVG Illinois Derby

Race 7, 4:37 PM Post, 1 1/8 Miles, Dirt


Hawthorne Race Course is in its 120th year of racing as Chicago’s “hometown track,” offering the only traditional dirt track thoroughbred racing in northern Illinois. Live racing action runs Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through April 30th, with a daily post time of 1:35 PM, but with a late post on Fridays at 2:30PM.  For more information visit or call Guest Services at 708-780-3733.  Fans are welcome at and for up-to-the-minute racing tips become a follower at

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