Monday, December 8, 2008

Capone's Horse Track

As with pretty much everything else in Cicero, Al Capone took control of the Hawthorne Race Track early on, and the fix was frequently in.

Lawrence Bergreen quotes a photographer for the Evening American, who claims that Capone used the fix to bribe him:
Assigned to cover a horse race at the Hawthorne track Capone controlled, Berardi was surprised to find Al himself at the race that day, accompanied by his usual retinue of five bodyguards. "Kid, how you doing?" he called out.
"I'm doing fine," said Berardi.
"Why don't you bet on number 6?"
The odds against the horse Capone recommended were exceedingly long: ninety-nine to one. Before Berardi could reply, one of Capone's attendants rushed over and stuffed a slip of paper in his jacket pocket. "I looked at it," Berardi rememberd, "and it was a five-dollar ticket on this number 6 horse....Well, he broke out in front and stayed out in front, and I don't think anyone dared catch him. The goddamn horse won by a block....Capone didn't bribe me; he just put $300 in my pocket.
(Bergreen, Lawrence, 1994, Capone: The Man and the Era. New York: Simon & Schuster, pp. 150-151).

Most of the Hawthorne track burned down in 1979, and a larger track was rebuilt afterwards.


Anonymous said...

capone built sportsmans park. every Friday two guys arrived at the track while it was being built with two suitcases of cash & paid the contractors & workers. research the history--very vague who was first owner

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