Special-edition city arts commission medallion honors the Horse of the Year Havre de Grace

Havre de Grace, the racehorse who shot to fame after being voted 2011 American Thoroughbred Horse of the Year, is getting more love from the city for which she was named.

The Havre de Grace Arts Commission has released a new medallion bearing the horse's countenance, a special addition to the series of racehorse medallions being released annually.

The group "has been doing medallions for the last four years as a part of Graw Days and the track that was here," commission president Pat Fair said Wednesday.

"Our plans were to do probably War Admiral this year, another horse that raced at the track, but when Havre de Grace won 2011 Horse of the Year, we said, 'What's a great thing we can do to honor the horse and the town and the whole thing?'"

The 5-year-old mare's owner, Rick Porter of Delaware, has said he had just been intrigued by the city's name while driving past Exit 89 on I-95.

Havre de Grace is expected to make her 2012 racing debut Saturday afternoon in New Orleans, where she is entered in the $150,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes at the Fair Grounds Race Track. She wintered at that track and will face four other fillies or mares in Saturday's mile and a sixteenth race.

The medallion went on sale about two weeks ago, and is available at the Havre de Grace Tourism Office, the Activity Center and at the Residences at Bulle Rock for $10 a piece, Fair said.

About 500 are available, although more could be produced, she said.

Fair said the medallion has been selling well so far.

"People are buying them, like, five at a time," she said. "It's important because it's honoring the town. It's honoring to us that he named the horse Havre de Grace, so it's been well-received."

Medallions from previous years, which have featured Man O' War, Bulle Rock, Sea Biscuit and The Graw, can be bought for $15.

The original idea was to sell them from October through Christmas, Fair said.

"When we first showed them, we sold them as ornaments," she said. "Then we decided it doesn't have to be on a tree."

Besides the special Havre de Grace medallion, the commission also plans to release its regular annual medallion, most likely featuring War Admiral, in October.

Proceeds go toward the many activities organized by the arts commission.

"All the programs that we put on are based on what we bring in as income," she said.

For more information, contact the Activity Center, 410-939-6724, the Visitors Center, 410-939-2100, or Bulle Rock, 410-939-8700.

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