Maryland Board of Public Works Approves Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area Equine Improvements Project

Left to Right: Barbara Heck, Fair Hill Foundation Capital Campaign Consultant, Jay Griswold, Vice President of the Fair Hill Foundation Board of Directors, Emily Wilson, Department of Natural Resources, Nina Gregory, Fair Hill Foundation Executive Director, Ross Peddicord, Executive Director, Maryland Horse Industry Board.

Construction to Begin in May After 85th Annual Fair Hill Races

Annapolis, Md. – The Maryland Board of Public Works voted today to approve the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area Equine Improvements project.  The approval green lights the project with construction beginning later this month to upgrade the facilities and continue Fair Hill’s preparations to host its first international 5-Star Event in 2020. A formal groundbreaking event is being planned around the 85th Fair Hill Races taking place May 24-25.

The improvement project addresses 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.  It will also provide a stronger revenue model for the State of Maryland and Cecil County through major equestrian and recreational events.

“The approval by the Board of Public Works is a very big step toward sustaining the future of Fair Hill,” said Jay Griswold, Vice President of the Fair Hill Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We look forward to construction getting underway and advancing the plans for the 5-Star event next year. This is an exciting day for Maryland and all of our great partners who have been supporting this project from the beginning.”

In 2020, Fair Hill will become one of seven locations in the world hosting a 5-Star.  Maryland will join Kentucky as the only other state to host both a 5-Star and a Triple Crown race.  The Maryland 5-Star is expected to generate millions of dollars in economic impact annually.

5-Star Events are the pinnacle of the sport of Eventing and feature elite athletes competing at a higher level than the Olympics. This three-day “triathlon” of equestrian sports judges one horse and rider pair in three phases of competition for a combined score: Dressage, Cross-Country and Stadium Jumping.

Upgrades for the venue include construction of a new cross-country course, already in development under Course Designer, Ian Stark. Three new equestrian arenas will be installed on the in-field of the turf course for Dressage and Show Jumping use.

Fair Hill’s historic turf racecourse, built in the late 1920s and modeled after Aintree Racecourse in England, is also being restored. The course will be resurfaced, realigned, and irrigated. Modifications will allow Fair Hill to host world-class turf racing and steeplechase racing. Visit for more information about the upgrades.

This year’s Fair Hill Races, sponsored by Brown Advisory, will include two days of racing on May 24-25. Friday will feature a gala celebration to commemorate the 85th Anniversary and highlight the improvements project.  The Cecil County Breeders’ Fair and Fair Hill Foundation recently announced that Friday’s card features two training flat races and two timber races. On Saturday, wagering will be offered for the seven races on the card. Saturday’s highlights include the Valentine Memorial Handicap Hurdle and the Iris Coggins Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


Media Contact:
Chris Daley