Historic Elkridge-Harford races set for this weekend

The annual steeplechase race scheduled for this Saturday at a farm in Monkton initially started a few miles down the road in the mid-1920s.

The Elkridge-Harford Hunt Point-to-Point race didn't always have that name, but started as the Harford Hunt Races and was held at what is now Ladew Topiary Gardens, according to Marianna Skowronski, of the Harford Historical Society. Even then, however, the races were associated with the Eklridge-Harford Hunt Club, as they are now, she added.

"It's interesting that it's basically still a local hunt meeting," Skowronski said.

These races are typically the warmup for the Maryland Triple Crown of steeplechasing, which include the My Lady's Manor, Maryland Grand National and Maryland Hunt Cup, Skowronski said Monday.

Gates open at noon on Saturday, April 7, and the first race starts at 1:30 p.m. and is the race to watch, according to Thomas Voss, who hosts the race on his farm.

"It's the best race of the day," he said.

The Elkridge-Harford will be held at his farm, Atlanta Hall Farm, at 2933 Pocock Road in Monkton. The event is rain or shine and includes children's pony races.

"It's a nice way to spend the day," Voss said, "and there is plenty of action throughout the afternoon."

Seven races are associated with the Elkridge-Harford Point-to-Point, including the Edward S. Voss Memorial Race and the George C. Clement Memorial Race. The Edward S. Voss race began in 1971, Skowronski said. The logo of the race, printed on a 2004 program, is a painting by Edward S. Voss, according to Skowronski.

"I just love the history of it," she said, adding that it has "persevered all these years."

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