Illinois Derby Challenge for Galloping Out!

Once again, I’m teaming up with Danonymous Racing to host an Illinois Derby contest to benefit Galloping Out!

Saturday’s action has been drawn, and the contest races have been selected.  The contest includes ten stakes races — all three from Hawthorne, and more action from coast to coast.  Just a $10 donation to Galloping Out makes you eligible for the grand prize, a signed picture of War Emblem, the horse who parlayed an Illinois Derby win into Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins in 2002!

What are you waiting for?  Get to handicapping the races — and, good luck in this weekend’s Illinois Derby Challenge!

Illinois Derby handicapping contest for Galloping Out!

The Illinois Derby is coming up on April 22.  Once again, I’m thrilled to be hosting, in conjunction with Danonymous Racing, a contest to benefit Galloping Out!

The contest will feature stakes racing at Hawthorne, including the Grade 3 Illinois Derby, as well as stakes action across the country.  The best $2 win-place return on the day, among players who have donated at least $10 to Galloping Out, wins a signed and framed photo of War Emblem after his Kentucky Derby score!  War Emblem prepared for his Derby win with a victory in the 2002 Illinois Derby.

Head over to Danonymous Racing to read all about the contest, make your donation to Galloping Out, and get ready for the Illinois Derby Challenge on April 22!

thank you, thank you, thank you!

Five weeks ago, Dan Tordjman issued me a challenge: if twenty-five people would participate in a Hawthorne-only handicapping contest for Galloping Out on Illinois Derby day, there would be one.

Thanks to you, yesterday’s handicapping contest succeeded beyond anything I could have imagined.  In all, the contest raised $1,073.00 for Galloping Out.

Thank you to everyone who donated to Galloping Out as part of the contest.

Thank you to Brandon Moran and Amanda DaBruzzo for going above and beyond with your bonus donations.

Thank you, Dan Tordjman and Jan Ely, for all your help and support with contest logistics.

Thank you, Elvis Trujillo and Martin Pedroza, for taking a moment to sign pairs of goggles as prizes for the contest after your wins yesterday.

Thank you to everyone who told anyone about the contest, whether it was in person or online.

We could not have done this without all of you.  Thank you for your support of retiring racehorses here in Illinois.

Illinois Derby Handicapping Contest: Exciting Update!

Last weekend, I announced that I would be organizing an Illinois Derby handicapping contest in conjunction with Danonymous Racing.  Dan Tordjman challenged me to find at least 25 people to donate at least $10 each for Galloping Out.  Even though race day is still almost a month away (April 18), we are already well on our way.  A lot of you have shown interest, and several people have even made their donations already.  Thank you to all of you for helping the plans for this event break so sharply from the gate!

Now, the contest gets even more exciting.

Thanks to Brandon Moran of Meadow Lane Stable, this contest will make even more of an impact on retiring racehorses in Illinois.  Meadow Lane races horses in the Chicago area, and has retired horses through Galloping Out.  Brandon has made the generous offer of a bonus donation to Galloping Out, in the amount of $10 for every $1 in the winner’s contest bankroll!

What better reason to try a new track on its biggest day of the year, or test your Hawthorne knowledge in a contest setting?  The better you handicap (or the luckier you are!) on Illinois Derby day, the more Galloping Out benefits from this contest.  With the contest bankroll being a mythical $2 to win and $2 to place in each race on the Illinois Derby Day card, your final contest bankroll won’t just be a score, but could end up making a real difference in the lives of Illinois thoroughbreds.

Up for playing?  Let me know via email, Twitter, or the comment section on this post that you are interested in playing, and then tell your friends!

To make your contest-related donation to Galloping Out, you have a few options.  You can PayPal the money to me ( is my PayPal email), and I will deposit it with Galloping Out’s account with the horsemen’s bookkeeper at Hawthorne.  If you would prefer, you can send your donation directly to Galloping Out.  They have a PayPal link on their site, and donations are tax-deductible because they are an accredited 501 (c)(3).  Just make sure to let me know once you’ve done so, so I can keep track of how much the contest has raised for Galloping Out.

Thank you Brandon, thank you Meadow Lane Stable, and thank you to everyone who has been interested in playing in this contest so far.  Everyone is invited to play, so join the fun!

Illinois Derby Handicapping Contest for Galloping Out at Danonymous Racing!

Do you enjoy handicapping contests?  Do you enjoy handicapping Hawthorne?  Do you want to make a difference in the lives of racehorses who are retiring from Illinois racetracks?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then help make an Illinois Derby Day contest happen at Danonymous Racing!

Dan frequently runs contests to benefit racing charities such as the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund and Old Friends.  I needled him on Twitter about how much I would enjoy an all-Hawthorne contest, and he responded with a challenge: if I could get 25 people to donate at least $10 to an Illinois horse-related charity, he would host an all-Hawthorne contest on April 18, Illinois Derby day.

Of course, I don’t back down from a challenge like this, and I had a perfect organization in mind: Galloping Out.  They are a partnership between the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Hawthorne Race Course, and Arlington Park.  They focus on rehabilitating, retraining, and rehoming horses who have raced in the Chicago area.  You can find detailed information about Galloping Out on their website, and see some of the horses who have been adopted through Galloping Out.

Come Illinois Derby Day, it will work just like the contests Dan typically runs — but now, with 100% more Hawthorne.  Pick a horse in each race on the Illinois Derby Day card, as well as an alternate in case of scratches.  You get $2 mythical win/place wagers on each of your horses, and the one with the highest bankroll after the day ends wins the contest.  It should be a great card to handicap, since Illinois Derby Day is the biggest day of the Hawthorne fall meet.  The card features two Grade III stakes on the card: the Illinois Derby for three-year-olds, as well as the Sixty Sails Handicap for older fillies and mares.

How can you help?  Let me know via email, Twitter, or the comment section on this post that you are interested in playing this contest.  To make your contest-related donation to Galloping Out, you have a few options.  You can PayPal the money to me ( is my PayPal email address), and I will deposit it with Galloping Out through their horsemen’s bookkeeper account.  If you would prefer for documentation purposes (since Galloping Out is an accredited 501 (c)(3)), you can send your donation directly to Galloping Out and then let me know what you sent them. What matters most is that we’re helping to give Illinois racehorses a long and happy life after they’ve made us so happy on the track…and we’re having a little fun in the process!