Hawthorne Hopes To Reopen Last Weekend Of May

By 670 The Score
(670 The Score) As Illinois moves toward Phase 3 of its five-step reopening plan, Gov. J.B. Pritzker opened the door for a possibility of horse racing returning without spectators.

For Hawthorne Race Course, that reopening could come as in the last weekend of May -- provided Pritzker's office would sign off on that happening.

"It's going to be very, very soon," Hawthorne Race Course director of publicity Jim Miller said on the Joe Ostrowski Show on Wednesday evening. "Hopefully as soon as us getting into Phase 3.

"We're hopeful as an industry that within the next couple of days, we're hearing that come Phase 3, we can get back on the race track."

Illinois is expected to enter Phase 3 of Pritzker's reopening plan May 29. The state will welcome sports back in Illinois, initially without fans, so long as they're held safely, Pritzker said earlier in May.

A part of the harness racing circuit, Hawthorne would work under strict safety guidelines. As far as returning, the track was five weeks into its racing schedule when the pandemic halted the economy in March. The horses have been trained and cared for since, meaning they're ready to race once they're allowed to the gates.

"The turnaround would be very quick," Miller said. "If it's something that we're allowed when we go into Phase 3, I would fully expect that first weekend back that we'd be back on the race track if we're allowed."