[photo, Horse, Glen Burnie, Maryland]
  • Harness Racing
  • Steeplechase Racing
  • Thoroghbred Racing

    The many horse-racing events, combined with many horse farms, particularly in the central part of the State, contribute to Maryland's reputation as "horse country." For horse-racing enthusiasts, Maryland offers thoroughbred racing, harness racing, and steeplechase racing.

  • Horse, Glen Burnie, Maryland, March 2011. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Horse farm, Davidsonville, Maryland] Thoroughbred Racing. Maryland has a long history of thoroughbred racing. In 1743, when the Maryland Jockey Club, the nation's oldest sporting organization, formed in Annapolis to govern the sport, organized thoroughbred racing began.

    Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore hosts the Preakness Stakes, one of three thoroughbred horse races in the world famous Triple Crown. The first running of the Preakness Stakes took place in 1873.

    Horse farm, Davidsonville, Maryland, August 2004. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Horse racing, Marlborough Hunt Races, Roedown Farm, Davidsonville, Maryland] Each year, the Preakness is held on the third Saturday in May (next scheduled for May 19, 2018), two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. In addition, throughout the year, thoroughbred races are held at Laurel Park in Prince George's County, including the Maryland Million each October since 1985, and at Timonium Race Track in Baltimore County.

    Horse racing, Marlborough Hunt Races, Roedown Farm, Davidsonville, Maryland, April 2009. Photo by Elizabeth W. Newell.

    [photo, Horse farm, Davidsonville, Maryland] In racing history, Maryland has been home to many champion Thoroughbreds, including three of the twelve Triple Crown winners. Man o' War, from Glen Riddle Farm in Berlin, is considered one of the best Thoroughbred race horses in history, having won 20 of 21 races, including the 1920 Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, and setting three world, two American, and seven track records. Gallant Fox, from Belair Stud in Collington, won the Triple Crown in 1930 and his son, Omaha, won the Triple Crown in 1935, marking the first time that a father and son both won the title. War Admiral, son of Man o' War, won the fourth Triple Crown in 1937 and raced Seabiscuit in the 1938 Pimlico Special, also known as the "Match Race of the Century."

    Horse farm, Davidsonville, Maryland, August 2004. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Harness racing, east of Denton (Caroline County), Maryland] Harness Racing. Harness racing takes place at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, Prince George's County; and at Ocean Downs in Berlin, Worcester County.

    Harness racing, east of Denton (Caroline County), Maryland, August 2016. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    Steeplechase Racing. The steeplechase racing season in Maryland is spring, and runs from March through May with the concluding race in September. Eleven of the races make up the Maryland Governor's Cup Series. They are run on courses in large, wooded and hilly fields, ranging in length from two to four miles. Depending on the race, riders and horses, jump over man-made hedges or timber fences of varying heights.

    My Lady's Manor Steeplechase in Monkton is held on the second Saturday in April (next scheduled for April 14, 2018).

    The Maryland Grand National Steeplechase in Baltimore County is held on the second to last Saturday in April (next scheduled for April 21, 2018).

    The Maryland Hunt Cup (one of the oldest steeplechase races in the United States) was first held in 1894. On the last Saturday each April, it is raced over post and rail fences up to five feet tall. The next race, the 121st running, is scheduled for April 2018.

    The Maryland Junior Hunt Cup next will be held in Cockeysville in April 2018.

    The Howard County Cup Races are held at Pleasant Prospect Farm in Brookeville, and are next scheduled for May 2018.

    The Potomac Hunt Races offer steeplechase just west of Potomac, and are next scheduled for May 2018.

    In Cockeysville at Shawan Downs, the Legacy Chase will be held Sept. 2018.

    Based at Fair Hill near Elkton in Cecil County, the National Steeplechase Association is the official regulatory body for the sport in the United States.

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