Before the annual running of the thoroughbred Triple Crown races in Kentucky, Baltimore and New York later this spring, the attention of local horse racing enthusiasts will be focused on a series of jump races in Harford County this weekend and next.
The Maryland steeplechasing season begins Saturday, April 9, with the Elkridge-Harford Point-to-Point events in Monkton, followed on Saturday, April 16 by the My Lady's Manor Steeplechase also held in the Monkton area.
Atlanta Hall Farm in Monkton will be the place to be this Saturday for both longtime steeplechase fans and those new to the sport, when the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club and the Voss family will host the 83rd renewal of the Elkridge-Harford Point-to-Point races, the traditional prep for Maryland's upcoming triple crown of steeplechase races.
Established at Harvey S. Ladew's Pleasant Valley estate in 1932 as the Harford Hunt Races, the meeting was held there for seven years before being disrupted by World War II. After the war, racing resumed but at a new venue and the Elkridge-Harford Point-to-Point was born. The new venue was Atlanta Hall.
On Pocock Road just off Jarrettsville Pike, the farm was owned by Elsa Horne Voss and her husband, Edward. Both of the Vosses were avid foxhunters and accomplished horsemen. Elsa had been a noted show rider prior to her marriage. Edward S. Voss was the Master of Foxhounds of the Elkridge-Harford Hunt. He had competed in steeplechase events in his native New York and he continued to do so in Maryland riding in occasional races until his 60s.
The couple's grandson, the late Thomas Horne Voss, eventually made a career out of racing, first as a jockey and later as an award winning trainer, running his horses out of the family stables at Atlanta Hall. In 1978, he was the winning rider of the first running of the meeting's feature race, the Edward S. Voss Memorial named for his grandfather.
For the Elkridge-Harford Point-to-Point races, gates will open at noon at Atlanta Hall Farm, 2933 Pocock Road, Monkton Md 21111. Post time for the first race is 1:30 p.m. Tickets are per car and are as follows: finish line, $200 (includes two sponsor tailgate tickets); preferred parking, $100 per car; and general parking, $50 per car;
Tickets may be purchased at the gate or by sending a check payable to EHHC to: Julia Smith, 13 Dellwood Court, Hunt Valley, MD 21030 or call 410-404-7071.
This is a family friendly event and tailgate picnics are encouraged (no grills). Food will be available for purchase on the grounds. All dogs must be kept on a leash.
My Lady's Manor
The My Lady's Manor Steeplechase Races, one of Maryland's oldest and most competitive days of timber racing, will be run for the benefit of Ladew Topiary Gardens on Saturday, April 16. Since 1909, this exciting day of equestrian sport has marked the beginning of spring in the Harford County countryside.
The afternoon includes four steeplechase races: The My Lady's Manor Steeplechase Race with a $30,000 purse (and the first of Maryland's Steeplechase Triple Crown), The John Rush Streett Memorial (two divisions $15,000 purse in each) and The John D. Schapiro Memorial ($15,000 purse). The day is presented by PNC.
In addition to the races, guests will enjoy live bluegrass music, food vendors and horse-themed merchandise tents and exhibits. The paddock, where horses are paraded before the jockeys are mounted, is open to the public. Gates open at 10 a.m. The first race is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. This is a rain or shine event.
The My Lady's Manor Steeplechase Races are held on Jarrettsville Pike at Pocock Road in Monkton. Admission is via parking passes; no additional admission ticket is required to the races.
General parking passes purchased in advance are $40 ($50 at the gate); family parking is $60 ($70 at the gate). All parking passes – including preferred parking on the race course ($150 and up) and admission to the Champagne Reception for the 2016 My Lady's Manor Race winner – can be purchased through www.LadewGardens.com. General and family parking passes are also available at Dogwood Tack, Hess Country Spirits and Wine Merchant. Guests may bring picnics and coolers. No unleashed dogs, please.
The My Lady's Manor race is considered the first leg of Maryland's Steeplechase Triple Crown, followed by the Grand National Steeplechase in Butler on April 23 and the 120th running of the Maryland Hunt Cup in Glyndon on April 30.
For more information on Maryland steeplechase events, visit www.marylandsteeplechaseassociation.com.