Museum-Racing Hall is well worth a visit

The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga is a great place to visit on a fall afternoon.

The first time I was there was for a reception not long after the museum opened, and there really wasn't time to explore it thoroughly.


The next time I popped over after the races one August afternoon. Me and about 7 million other people. That time there was time to explore, but not enough room.

Last week I spent a leisurely afternoon really getting to know the place. There were fewer than a dozen visitors to the museum when I was there, and I had the time and space to really delve into its treasures.


Marylanders and Maryland racing are well represented in this museum. One of the first things a visitor sees when entering the lobby is the Preakness Cup. This lovely sterling silver cup was crafted by Scholfield and Company of Baltimore.

The Hall of Fame room at the racing museum gives the visitor a chance to call up information from a video screen on any of the horses, owners, jockeys and trainers admitted to the Racing Hall of Fame.

Frank Whitely, who was born in Centreville in 1915, is one of the trainers enshrined in the Hall. Whitely saddled the likes of Damascus, Tom Rolfe and Forego.

Jockey Chris McCarron, another Hall of Famer, won a record 546 races while riding in Maryland in 1974. He is also an Eclipse Award recipient from his Maryland riding days.

The horses inducted into the Hall of Fame included many with Maryland connections, including Mrs. Richard duPont's great gelding Kelso. The great Northern Dancer, inducted in 1976, was bred in Canada, but spent his career at stud and his last days in Maryland.

Steeplechaser Jay Trump, who won the English Grand National in 1965, had many wins in Maryland. He was a three-time winner of the Maryland Hunt Cup, and in 1964 pulled off a triple of My Lady's Manor, the American Grand National and the Maryland Hunt Cup.

The 1977 equine inductee was Challedon. The Preakness winner (1939) is called a "hero among Maryland racing fans" in his Hall of Fame biography. Bred and raced by William L. Brann and trained by L. J. Schaefer, Challedon won the Pimlico Futurity in 1938 and was champion colt and Horse of the Year in 1938.

The National Museum of Racing offers many more treasures. For starters, there is a wonderful movie that is an introduction to racing and race horses. Then you move onto the section of the museum that is devoted to the racing day. Here you can see memorabilia from Man o' War, Equipoise, Nashua and Citation.


You can hear jockeys Angel Cordero, Eddie Maple, Richard Migliore and Mike Venezia and trainers Wayne Lukas, Shug McGaughey, Jonathan Sheppard and Jack Van Berg tell you their thoughts on racing. And you can learn how the odds are made.

The Triple Crown room features photos, sculptures and oil paintings commemorating the 11 Triple Crown winners.

There is a gallery of racing faces, a look at Saratoga in the 1890s and a section on the August racing. Then there is the gift shop with more horse-related paraphernalia than you ever thought possible.

Seminar on equine nutrition

Don't forget this Wednesday's free educational seminar on equine nutrition sponsored by the Carroll County Equestrian Council.

Dale Bowman of R. D. Bowman and Sons, Inc., and Mark Yarish of Purina Mills will speak. Everyone is invited. You don't even need to own a horse. Refreshments will be served.


The meeting will be held at the Agriculture Center in the Extension Office meeting room. Call (410) 833-4593 for more information.

There will be no CCEC seminar in December, but the January one is important to every horseman.

Gene Freeze of the Maryland Horsemen's Business Development Group will speak on the Equine Activities Limited Liability Act.

Trails closed some days

Don't forget that the equestrian trails at Union Mills and Gillis Falls are closed on some days through Feb. 28.

Union Mills Trails are closed Monday, Wednesday and Friday; Gillis Falls on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Both are closed Nov. 28 through Dec. 12.


The trails at Piney Run remain open seven days a week.

Calendar of events

Nov. 18 -- Free educational seminar on equine general nutrition sponsored by the Carroll County Equestrian Council, 7:30 p.m., 700 Agriculture Center, Extension Office meeting room, Westminster, (410) 833-4593.

Nov. 20 -- Flat work and jumping clinic with Olympic three-day rider David O'Connor at Maple Spring Farm, Glenwood. One-hour sessions. $37 per person.

Nov. 20 -- Deadline for registration for 1992 Maryland Pleasure Horse Seminar, South Carroll High School, Winfield, (410) 848-4611.

Nov. 20 -- Deadline for Maryland Combined Training Association volunteer awards nominations, Linda Reynolds, (410) 239-8831.


Nov. 21 -- Seminar on business management for the horse owner, Hilltop Farm, Colora, (410) 658-9898.

Nov. 27-30 -- Dressage clinic with Erik Herberman, Equilibrium Farm, Gambrills, (301) 721-0885.

Nov. 27-Jan. 1 -- Carriage rides in Frederick; Sundance and Victorian Carriage Companies, (410) 489-7863 or (301) 694-7433.