Manoleote, Andy on the pony, & Groom Luis

Families often share customs, values, and traditions, and for three generations of the Hawthorne family, one common trait passed down is their deep passion and love for horses and horse racing.

Bobbi Anne Hawthorne, a trainer at Parx Racing* for over 30 years, was around horses all her life, learning about them from a very strong role model. Now she’s passed her love of the horse racing business to her son, Andy.

“My mom (Barbara Rush) was always into training horses. We shipped and raced at Monmouth Park, Pimlico, Atlantic City, Garden State Park, back in the day.” Rush retired from training in 2001, but the torch was already passed on to her daughter, who got her training license when she was 20 years old.

Her son Andy has jumped right in, growing up doing horse shows. Once he turned 14, his interests changed to the racing end. “I kind of fell in love with it. It’s in our blood. I’m just kind of meant to do it!” he said emphatically. He’s a great ambassador for the sport, too, bringing his friends to the races and sharing the excitement with them.

Andy bull riding

It was bull riding first for him, though, after he rode in horse shows. “It’s not a matter of whether you get hurt, it’s when,” he laughed, describing getting in the ring. Now he loves every aspect of racing, from walking the horses to galloping them.

Bobbi Anne and her son handle all the day to day operations of the Hawthorne Stable. They exercise and hot walk, and have a small staff of grooms to tend to the horses. “It’s really a team effort. You have to have a great group around you because it’s not just one person that makes it,” she said, adding that she is proud of her team of grooms, who all love racing and the horses.
The strong family bond and support for the Hawthorne Racing Stable extends to Bobbi Anne’s husband, A.J. “My husband is into the racehorses, and I’m so lucky that he’s always backed me financially and given his support when I needed it. It’s always been kind of a family affair.”

The favorite horse in the barn right now is Manolete, a 6-year-old son of Mineshaft, claimed last February. He was turned out for 90 days during the pandemic and came back strongly, with wins in July and September, and then a tremendous win, the best of his career, last November at Hollywood at Penn National. A dominant win on January 11th at Parx by 1 3/4 lengths made it 3 in a row for the pride of the Hawthorne barn. Running to the Winner’s Circle, Bobbi Anne was thrilled, yelling “I love this horse!”

Bobbi Anne still has a soft spot in her heart for a horse named Charley’s Diamond, who she trained back in 2006. “He was such a classy horse, really nice to train.” Their barn at Parx presently has 9 horses, including two of Andy’s favorites who are lead ponies, In The Building and Wild Street.

Looking ahead to the future, maybe the next generations of Hawthornes will be involved in racing too and share this passion? “If I have my way, ABSOLUTELY!” Andy laughs.

Bobbi Anne is happy to continue doing just what she’s doing well into the future. “We’ve been lucky enough to win enough races to keep it going. It’s just what we love. We just really enjoy horse racing!”

PARX races Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Post Time 12:25pm.

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