For the past four years, Laurel-Pimlico officials have been kicking around the idea of a sort of festival of horses, one that would attract a cross-section of people who are not necessarily racing fans.
"We wanted something equine-related that might appeal to a broader audience, but wasn't racing oriented," said Tim Capps, vice president of communications. "What we have come up with is a horse fair and trade show, an equine jamboree."
The inaugural event, dubbed "A Horse 'A Fair' To Remember," will be conducted this weekend at Laurel in conjunction with the International Turf Festival.
The track and the grounds will be overflowing with horse-related exhibitions and items for sale, demonstrations and parades of numerous different breeds of horses.
Patterned after the Belmont Horse Fair staged in New York during Belmont Stakes week, it will be an annual affair if the initial venture is as popular as envisioned by management.
One feature, called "paddock park" on a grassy area near the paddock will contain the trade show with appearances by a plantation walking horse and a Morgan horse, one which has been rescued and rehabilitated.
Also in the area will be demonstrations by farriers and equine dentists and a practical view of how a starting gate operates. Merchandise will be on sale in 20 booths.
On the track, eight events are scheduled between races today and tomorrow, including Grand Prix jumping and dressage by the United States equestrian team and glimpses of everything from draft horses and mules to trick riding and polo.
Hall of Fame jockey and current trainer Angel Cordero will be there with his stable of miniature horses.
Capps said future festivals of this type "aren't locked in to International week" and that the outcome of the first one will dictate what happens.
12:52 p.m. -- Roman riding; 1:23-- Angel Cordero with miniature horses; 1:55 -- Polo; 2:28 -- Paso Finos; 2:35 -- Trick riding; 3:02 -- Jousting; 3:38 -- Parade of breeds; 4:32 -- U.S. Park Police escort of International post parade.
12:40 p.m. -- Paso Finos; 1:06 -- Trick riding; 1:33 -- Polo; 2:01 -- Grand Prix stadium jumping by U.S. Equestrian team; 2:31 -- Howard County fox hounds; 3:00 -- Grand Prix dressage by U.S. Equestrian team; 3:29 -- Roman riding; 3:57 -- Draft horses and mules.