First Gallop Takes Place on New Turf Course at Fair Hill

Breeders’ Cup Contender, Invincible Gal.

Trainer Graham Motion Preps Breeders’ Cup Contenders on Historic Track Recently Enhanced with New Surface, Realignment, and Irrigation System  

Elkton, Md. –  The new Turf Course at Fair Hill was used for the first time yesterday since improvements to the track were completed this year. Fair Hill-based trainer, Graham Motion galloped his three 2020 Breeders’ Cup contenders, Mean Mary, Alda, and Invincible Gal, along with last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner, Sharing, giving the course its first run.

Construction on the historic track began in 2019 and took just over a year to finish. The one-mile course was realigned for consistent width and the turns were widened. An advanced irrigation system was installed for efficient drainage and the surface was replaced with a Kentucky Bluegrass Mix. New distance poles, finish pole and running rails were also erected to give it a fresh look.


“There would not be a better turf course in the country right now without exception,” said Motion. “Everyone was very pleased with how it handled, particularly the grade down the backside and up the front side. The turf is in beautiful shape.”

The Turf Course at Fair Hill is part of the newly constructed Special Event Zone at Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area in Cecil County. Owned by the State of Maryland, the venue also features a new Ian Stark-designed cross-country course, updated timber course and new competition arenas built within the turf track’s infield. The enhanced turf track will offer more opportunities for training, as well as the potential to host more racing days at Fair Hill in the future.

The investment in the facility by the State of Maryland addressed Fair Hill’s aged equestrian infrastructure and ensures the opportunity to sustain Fair Hill’s future as one of the premier equine sports venues in the world. The Fair Hill Foundation is currently leading Proud Past – Infinite Future, The Campaign for Fair Hill, to raise private funding to leverage and match state funds for the $20 million project.

Initially designed by William du Pont, Jr. in the late-1920s, The Turf Course at Fair Hill was modeled after the original design of Aintree Racecourse in England. Completed in the 1930s, the track hosted its first race in 1934. It has held many notable Steeplechase events throughout its history including four of the six runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Steeplechase (1986-1988, 1991) and the American Grand National in the 1970s.