STICKNEY – Hawthorne Race Course is removing more than 11,000 tons of sand as it converts its track from thoroughbred to harness racing in preparation for its winter harness racing meet, according to a news release from the race course.
Beginning New Year's Eve, a crew of 100 people will work from sun up to sun down for 72 hours on a massive construction undertaking to remove the sand with a fleet of trucks to reveal a crushed limestone surface, the release stated.
The winter meet will begin with extreme harness racing in the snow and ice on opening night Jan. 5, 2018, with a 7:05 p.m. post time. Featuring the longest home stretch in North America, horses racing at Hawthorne are able to sprint on the crushed limestone surface, even in Chicago's slippery winter weather conditions, according to the release.
"Harness racing is such a dynamic exciting sport that is so uniquely American," Hawthorne Race Course President and General Manager Tim Carey said in the release. "My great grandfather had a vision when he first brought harness racing to Hawthorne over a hundred years ago, and we continue to have the best drivers in the country come to Hawthorne to compete. This winter, come snow, ice or cold, fans will have the chance to see the best of the best race."
Live harness racing will continue through Feb. 19, 2018. The complete 2018 racing schedule is available at https://www.hawthorneracecourse.com.