The Maryland Horse Breeders Association turned 90 this year, and on Saturday it will celebrate with one of the signature fruits of its labor — the 34th Jim McKay Maryland Million Day program at Laurel Park.
Maryland’s Day at the Races, the second-biggest day on Maryland’s racing calendar behind the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, the mid-May Preakness Stakes, Maryland Million puts the spotlight on stallions that stand in Maryland and serves as an annual source of pride for the MHBA.
Founded by Louis McLane Merryman, Janon Fisher Jr. and Dr. J. Fred Adams in 1929, the year a collapse in the stock market led to the Great Depression, the MHBA has survived and thrived for nine decades in a horse industry best described as unpredictable.
From first President Breckinridge Long, a horseman who served as assistant Secretary of State during World War I, to its 34th, veterinarian and horse breeder/owner Dr. Michael J. Harrison, the MHBA has been led and populated by a passionate and dedicated membership.
In addition to his veterinary practice, Harrison owns and operates 188-acre Willowdale Farm in Reisterstown, where he moved with his family in 1962 when the property his father purchased was even larger. Along with presiding over the MHBA, he is a member of the board of directors of Maryland Million Ltd.
“The organization has played a major role in the continuation and the strength of horse racing that we have here in the state,” Harrison said. “Right now we’re racing something like 40 percent horses that are entered in the races, so they make up a substantial portion, a very solid portion of racing in Maryland, which is important."
Moved in December 2016 to the campus of Goucher College in Towson after two decades in Timonium, the MHBA’s function includes registering Maryland-bred Thoroughbreds to determine eligibility for state-bred races and bonuses. Since 2010, a portion of the money raised from slots at off-track casinos has gone to bolster those bonuses as well as race purses which, in turn, attract quality horses both in and out of Maryland.
Women’s college volleyball: Johns Hopkins sophomore middle blocker Eleni Panagopoulos was named the Centennial Conference Player of the Week.
Women’s college golf: McDaniel senior Meg Schlesinger was named the Centennial Conference Women’s Golfer of the Week.
Men’s college golf: McDaniel sophomore Ryan McGarry was named the Centennial Conference Men’s Golfer of the Week.