Sports Outside the Beltway

2009 dates awarded to Balmoral, Maywood, and Hawthorne raceways

However Hawthorne’s dates are only for Thoroughbred racing. From

The Illinois Racing Board has awarded 2009 racing dates and only Balmoral Park and Maywood Park will host Standardbreds, with Hawthorne only receiving dates for Thoroughbred racing.

Maywood Park will race on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2, with Balmoral racing on Jan. 3 and Jan. 4. Then, both tracks will be dark for live racing, with Balmoral resuming Jan. 28 and Maywood on Jan. 29. Maywood will race through Dec. 31 on Thursdays and Fridays only, being dark on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Balmoral Park will then race through April 29, three nights per week: Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturday, but dark on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1, and Easter, April 12.

The track will then be closed until May 2, when it resumes racing four nights per week—Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday—through Oct. 31. From Nov. 1 through Dec. 30, the track will go back to its three-night-a-week schedule of Sundays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The only reason I find this news interesting is because it brings back memories from the 1970′s for me. My father owned standardbred race horses driven and trained by Bruce Nickells. Bruce, whose wife Joanne died in 2007, had stables in the Chicago Illinois and Columbus areas during the spring and summer before taking all operations to Florida for the winter.

I’ve been to Hawthorne and Maywood plus Sportsman Park, another Chicago area track at the time. Most racing I saw was at Sportsmans, but I was to races at Hawthorne and Maywood also. I remember my Hawthorne experience to this day.

On the first night of racing at Hawthorne in the summer of 1972, the racetrack suffered a power out. It was confined to the trackside area, I think a blown transformer was the reason. After a few hours, the rest of the racing program was cancelled. Including a race family’s best horse, record holder Fast Clip, was supposed to be in.

The race was re-scheduled for Tuesday, however Fast Clip never raced in it. He being a late scratch. The groom taking care of Clip, put the wraps around his legs on too tight, this cutting off the horse’s circulation to its lower legs and hooves. A very dangerous thing to do with a horse. Fast Clip did recover from what happened and a month record set a lifetime mark for himself, 156.3 at the Duquoin raceway in Illinois. The following month Fast Clip finished 2nd to Strike Out in the second heat of The Little Brown Jug. There Clip bested the record for a pacer on a half mile track at the time, in the race that is the Standardbred Pacer’s equivalent of The Kentucky Derby.

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