I haven't been getting down to Hawthorne much in recent years, partly because I've been out-of-state so much, and partly because the traffic on the I-55 has grown so atrocious, but mostly because there's hardly anyone there anymore. There used to be big monster vibrant crowds filling the place, both sides, back in the late 90's when simulcasting was first introduced. But now the whole clubhouse side is closed, and 2nd and 3rd floor of grandstand might as well be, which leaves just ground floor grandstand side, and even that is usually a ghost town. So it's not really much fun.
However, on a recent Spring Saturday I was kinda out southwest of Chicago for morning golf anyhow, and decided to stop by Haw for the 3:00 pm card on the way home. And I was surprised, very surprised, at what a nice crowd had showed up.