For racing fans who appreciate seeing horses run on actual dirt, here's mud in your eye: Hawthorne Race Course opens its fall meet on Friday afternoon.
And it won't take long to get right down to the nitty-gritty because a day later the track will host the 74th running of the Grade II $250,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup, a stepping stone for older horses prepping for the Breeders' Cup Classic.
"I believe we will have a tremendous meet this fall," Hawthorne assistant general manager Jim Miller said. "The backstretch is full and our strong opening-day entries should be a sign of what we will see for the entire meet.
"The Gold Cup looks to provide another top-notch field and will look to again send a horse or two towards the Breeders' Cup."
Hawthorne will open its fall meet with a "Super Bet Sweepstakes," a chance to win a $5,000 bet on the Breeders' Cup Classic. The social media sweepstakes will run from Oct. 1 through Oct. 30 and will be orchestrated through Facebook and Twitter.
A $5,000 win bet made on last year's Classic winner would have paid $19,000.
"This is championship season for thoroughbred racing across the nation and Hawthorne's fall meet is a part of that as a great local sports tradition," said Tim Carey, president and GM of Hawthorne. "Now more than ever sports fans and gamblers are looking for cost-effective entertainment options as the economy continues to recover. Our fans can enjoy a whole day of up-close, action-packed sports entertainment for a $4 admission."