Anticipation for the fall Thoroughbred meet at Hawthorne is high as racing action kicks off Friday at 3:10 p.m. (CDT).

Full fields will be the focus this fall for new Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Allan Plever. Plever's condition book has been well received as stall applications exceeded the available stalls for the fall meet. Large stables from Roger Brueggemann, Frank Kirby, Chris Dorris and Chris Block return to Hawthorne from a summer at Arlington while Clay Brinson, Joel Berndt, Nevada Litfin and Randy Rarick come to Hawthorne from Canterbury. A 35-year racing veteran, Plever has worked at tracks throughout the country in numerous management positions.

Plever will also oversee a stakes schedule that provides stakes actions on most weekends throughout the meet. The main changes come in the graded stakes for the fall meet. Opening weekend will provide evening stakes excitement with the 49th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Hawthorne Derby on the turf. The Derby will be joined by the $75,000 Indian Maid Handicap on turf for fillies and mares.

The other major change comes with the move of the Grade 2, $350,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup. Traditionally run opening weekend, the Gold Cup has been moved to the Saturday following Thanksgiving on November 30.

Following the pattern set in 2012, the Illinois-bred stakes races will again be run four weekends throughout the meet. The $75,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial will be contested on the grass on October 12. The stakes schedule closes with Illinois-bred juveniles going two turns in the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante on December 7 and the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity on December 14.

Hawthorne's main track is in excellent shape for the meet following a surface refresher and the turf course has never looked better. The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (ITHA) examined the main track and is very pleased with it. With the help of the ITHA, the full backstretch is in great shape as barns have been power washed, roads paved and trees trimmed and cleared.

For handicappers, Hawthorne welcomes the return of popular analyst Jim Miller, a 15-year Hawthorne fixture who returns after being away for the spring meet.

"We're very excited about this fall meet," Hawthorne President and General Manager Tim Carey said. "We had to deal with everything under the sun last fall from poor weather to the virus that nearly crippled us. We have been proactive with a full cleaning of the backstretch this summer and are pleased to be working in hand with the ITHA.

"I'm excited to have Allan Plever on board as he has brought in some new stables and written a very popular condition book. Our night racing card on opening weekend has been received with a great response and our stakes schedule will provide for great racing action throughout the meet."

The Hawthorne meet runs through December 29. Live racing will be conducted every Wednesday-Sunday, with first post Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:10 p.m. On Fridays through November 29, first post will be 3:10. Saturday is a special night racing card with a 5:00 p.m. post time. Beginning December 4, first post will be 1:20 p.m. daily.

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Hawthorne Fall Thoroughbred Meet

Dates: October 4 through December 29
Racing Schedule:  every Wednesday through Sunday
Post Times: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:10 p.m.  On Fridays through November 29, first post will be 3:10. Saturday is a special night racing card with a 5:00 p.m. post time. Beginning December 4, first post will be 1:20 p.m. daily.

Hawthorne Racecourse Information

Main track (dirt): 1 mile, oval with 6 furlongs and 1 1/4 chutes
Length of stretch from last turn to finish line: 1320 feet
Width of stretch: 75 feet

Turf: 7 furlongs
Bets available may include: Win, Place, Show, Quinella, Exacta, Trifecta, Superfecta, Daily Double, Pick 3, and Pick 4, Pick 5, Pick 6, Place Pick 9, Jackpot Hi 5.