Timonium Race Course
Timonium Race Course is a thoroughbred racing track in Timonium, Maryland. A short meet of about eight days is usually held at the track in conjunction with the Maryland State Fair.
Timonium Race Course has a 5/8 mile oval dirt track. It has an expansive grandstand that overlooks the track infield, and has an open air seating capacity of 5,000.
Big stakes events are held at Timonium during the State Fair days. Among the ones that have been held are:
- Alma North Handicap
- Taking Risk Stakes
- Bobby Hale Stakes
- Linkage Stakes
- Winning Colors Stakes
History of Timonium Race Course
- In June, a group of Maryland businessmen incorporated as the Baltimore County Agricultural Association to establish a State Fair. The corporation leased a 37-acre plot of land on the York Turnpike on what was then known as the "Timonium Estate".
- The first Fair was held in Timonium that year from September 7 to 12.
- Thoroughbred racing was first held at Timonium race course during the State Fair.
- The Baltimore County Agricultural Association faced stiff competition from the Pimlico Fair, also referred to as the State Fair, which was operated by the Maryland Jockey Club.
- The two groups held joint fairs in 1894 and 1897.
- The Maryland Jockey Club eventually gained control of the Timonium Fair and both groups incorporated as The Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society. Their annual fair became known as The Maryland State Fair.
- Races were held at the Timonium race track and results were forwarded to interested horsemen at Baltimore and Alexandria, VA, by way of carrier pigeon.
- During the 1918 Fair, the first air mail delivery in the United States was made at the Timonium Fairgrounds.
- The Fair was interrupted because of the war effort. The fairgrounds were leased to the U.S. Army for use as a storage depot and vehicle repair center.
- The Maryland Jockey Club agreed to sell the fairgrounds to business interests who wanted to purchase the site for industrial development. A group of agriculturists, business leaders, horsemen and bankers formed the "Save the Maryland State Fair Committee" which raised over $600,000 to purchase the fairgrounds, thus ensuring that the Maryland State Fair at Timonium would continue to be Maryland's premiere event at the end of each summer.
- The Maryland Racing Industry took steps to have the Fair's thoroughbred horse racing dates transferred from Timonium to other Maryland tracks. However, directors of the Fair recognized that such a move would threaten the survival of the Fair. The Committee of Friends of the Maryland State Fair successfully convinced the public and the Maryland Legislature of the value in keeping thoroughbred racing a part of the Fair.
1980s to 1990s
- The Fair continued to flourish as facilities were expanded and modernized allowing for more and better exhibits and competitions.