Du Quoin State Fair celebrating 100th anniversary with $100K standardbred purse

Motorcycle racing to return to Du Quoin State Fairgrounds this summer

DU QUOIN, Ill. (KFVS) - To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Du Quoin State Fair, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is increasing purse money by $100,000.

According to a release from the fair, this will be split between four championship races.

The Governor’s Cup featuring two-year-old colt trotters, the First Lady’s Cup featuring two-year-old filly trotters, the Lt. Governor’s Cup featuring two-year-old filly pacers and the Director’s Cup featuring two-year-old colt pacers, will see their purses increased by $25,000 each.

The first night of the fair, the horses take center stage.

The action continues Saturday with harness racing that includes the Governor’s Cup, First Lady’s Cup, Lt. Governor’s Cup and the Directors Cup.

“These horses represent the first generation of foals born after legislation was signed by Governor Pritzker providing revenue streams to enhance the horse racing industry,” IDOA Director Jerry Costello said. “To be able to increase the purses for these races truly showcases the prioritized investment and commitment this administration and IDOA have in our state’s horse racing industry.”

The Du Quoin State Fair runs from August 26 to September 5. Admission to the fair is free, parking is $15 for Gate 1 and $10 for all other gates.

According to the release, the history of harness racing in Du Quoin dates back to its inception by William R. “W.R.” Hayes and community leaders in 1923. This notoriety was enhanced in 1957 when the Hayes family brought the Hambletonian to the fairgrounds.

As the first event for the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters, for 24 years the Hambletonian called the Du Quoin Fairgrounds home. Despite it eventually moving on, the fairgrounds continued as a destination for harness racing when the World Trotting Derby made Du Quoin its home until 2009.

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Amber Ruch

Amber has worked at KFVS for eight years.