Chicago Blackhawks fans have likely heard color commentary from Eddie Olczyk that also features the Hall of Famer's love of horse racing. And area horse racing fans have likely seen the Chicago hockey hero at the racetrack or off-track betting parlors. But beginning Tuesday, March 12th, fans will have an unprecedented chance to own an actual racehorse with Eddie O. The online, on-site contest is believed to be one of the first of its kind in the nation.
“Chicago is a sports town first and foremost,” said Tim Carey, the 4th generation president and general manager of Hawthorne Race Course, the nation's 2nd oldest family-owned and operated race track. “Whether hockey or horses, fans of both sports want to be as close to the action as they can. Imagine watching your horse get ready in the paddock, then cheering like crazy along the rail, before heading to the winner's circle with Eddie, talk about bragging rights!”
The contest is open to the public with advance online registration at www.ChicagoBlackhawks.com from March 12th through April 7th. Four semi-finalists will be chosen at random each week. Four more semi-finalists will be chosen at a public event at Hawthorne Race Course on Saturday, April 13th with Eddie O. Five winners will be announced at the same event. The prize also includes an annual pass to Hawthorne Race Course, access to the horse owners' lounge and patio, and to the newly built, private Platinum Player's Room.
“Hockey and horse fans have a lot of similarity in my opinion,” said Eddie Olczyk. “There is a lot of passion for their sport. I've been a fan of horseracing and an owner in the sport for most of my adult life. When your horse or team wins, that's a great feeling, but to own that winner, well that's a whole different level of excitement.”
The horse, named Cub's Thunder, will be managed by Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc. and will race under the ownership group “Midwest Thoroughbreds, Inc. and Eddie Olczyk Racing.” Midwest Thoroughbreds have been the nation's leading racehorse owners for the last two years. A portion of the horse's winnings from the “Own a Horse with Eddie O.” promotion will be donated to charity.
“Racing needs more ideas like this,” said Jim Miller, general manager of Midwest Thoroughbreds and former assistant general manager of Hawthorne Race Course. “The Blackhawks are obviously red hot so this should be a great way to build more exposure for horseracing which has just as many close finishes and thrilling wins. And the more that horseplayers know about horse ownership, the better.”
Eddie Olczyk will also co-host a live one-hour broadcast of Hawthorne's Illinois Derby on WGN-TV on Saturday, April 20th. The $750,000 namesake stakes race is the richest dirt race in Illinois. The broadcast is scheduled to feature the “Own a Horse with Eddie O.” promotion.
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