85th Fair Hill Races Celebrates History and Future

Photo by Alissa Norman

Elkton, Md. – The 85th Fair Hill Races celebrated the history and future of Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area.  The two-days of racing during the Cecil County Breeders’ Fair continued the Fair Hill Races’ tradition which began in 1934.  Then property owner, William du Pont, Jr. had a vision of creating an event for the surrounding communities.  The weekend also focused on the future of Fair Hill. On Friday, a formal groundbreaking took place to signify the start of construction next week and advancement of the Equine Improvement Project.

Coggins Memorial winners, (left to right) Trainer, Jack Fisher, Jockey, Michael Mitchell, Dr. Peter Coggins and Fisher’s wife, Shelia, standing in for owner, Gil Johnston.
On Saturday, the races were attended by thousands of spectators. Six races were on the card with the $50,000 Iris Coggins Memorial, a filly and mare hurdle stakes, serving as the featured race.  Amnicalola won the Coggins under jockey, Michael Mitchell with a powerful stretch run to victory by 2 3/4-lengths for trainer, Jack Fisher and owner, Gil Johnston. Fisher-trained horses won two races on Friday and two on Saturday, making him the leading trainer of the meet.

The $40,000 Valentine Memorial Handicap Hurdle was the final race of the day and the last race to be run on the historic Fair Hill turf course before it undergoes construction to enhance the track. Robert Kinsley’s No Wunder with jockey, Jack Doyle aboard crossed the wire first also by 2 ¾-lengths for trainer, Elizabeth Voss.  Full results provided by the National Steeplechase Association.

No Wunder darts across the wire to win the Valentine Memorial Handicap Hurdle.
The Cecil County Breeders’ Fair added Friday racing this year in celebration of the event’s 85th Anniversary. The day was concluded with the groundbreaking ceremony and an 85th Anniversary gala. Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, Maryland’s Secretary of Natural Resources and Jay Griswold, Fair Hill Foundation Board of Directors’ Vice President made remarks. Joining them in the ceremonial first dig were project partners from Cecil County, The Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Stadium Authority, Maryland Sports Commission and the Maryland Horse Industry Board.

Earlier this month, the Maryland Board of Public Works voted to approve the project addressing Fair Hill’s aged equestrian infrastructure ensuring the opportunity to sustain Fair Hill’s future as one of the premier equine sports venues in the world.