No Hawthorne Spring Meet. Track to Build Casino

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Fans at Hawthorne racecourse. Fans at Hawthorne racecourseHawthorne Race Course will not conduct live Thoroughbred racing in the spring of 2020 while it builds casino and sports-betting facilities, leaving a nearly four-month gap in the Chicago-area schedule.

“This is going to be a hardship for Thoroughbred horsemen,” said David McCaffrey, executive director of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. “But it’s a short-term pain, long-term gain situation and Hawthorne has pledged to work with us to while we get through it.”

“It’s a hardship and our members will have to do some creative planning,” he said.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 16-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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