Hawthorne Race Course, the nation’s fourth-oldest racetrack, located in the Chicagoland townships of Cicero and Stickney, has joined the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). Hawthorne has emerged as one of the leading destinations for NTRA National Handicapping Championship (NHC) qualifying contests in recent years and will further expand on that position thanks to discounted NTRA member pricing for racing’s most successful national promotional venture.

“This year has really been a year of change at Hawthorne, in a good way, and part of those changes include our return to the NTRA,” said Tim Carey, Hawthorne President and General Manager. “We are off to a great start for the racing season as handle has grown due to our later post and support of our horsemen in the entry box. With our overnight purses solidified from last year, we are pleased to return the Illinois Derby to the racing schedule as well. With all of this in place, the player remains a main focus for us at Hawthorne. Our NHC qualifiers have grown through the years in popularity and exposure. With our partnership with the NTRA, we expect to further grow these tournaments into the place to be nationally when we host them.”

Hawthorne is in the midst of its annual Spring Meet, comprised of 22 twilight racing programs on Fridays and Saturdays in March and Thursdays to Saturdays in April. First post is 4:10 p.m. CT. Following a one-year hiatus to solidify the purse account, the Grade 3 Illinois Derby is back on the stakes schedule and will be contested for a $250,000 purse on April 22. That afternoon will also feature a pair of supporting Illinois-bred stakes.

To learn more about Hawthorne Race Course, visit HawthorneRaceCourse.com, ‘like’ their Facebook page at Facebook.com/ClubHawthorne, or follow @ClubHawthorne on Twitter.

About Hawthorne Race Course

Founded in 1891, Hawthorne Race Course is the fourth-oldest racetrack in the nation and the oldest sporting venue in Illinois. Located in Stickney, Ill., on the edge of Chicago’s city limits, the 126-year-old facility hosts Thoroughbred racing in March and April and again in October through December. Standardbred harness racing is conducted in May through September. The family-owned-and-operated business has been an innovator in horseracing for more than 100 years and features the nation’s most rewarding players program.