The Maryland Board of Public Works voted today to approve the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area Equine Improvements project. The approval green lights the project with construction beginning later this month to upgrade the facilities and continue Fair Hill’s preparations to host its first international five-star event in 2020. A formal groundbreaking event is being planned around the 85th Fair Hill Races taking place May 24-25.
The improvement project addresses Fair Hill’s aged equestrian infrastructure and ensures the opportunity to sustain Fair Hill’s future as one of the premier equine sports venues in the world. It will also provide a stronger revenue model for the State of Maryland and Cecil County through major equestrian and recreational events.
“The approval by the Board of Public Works is a very big step toward sustaining the future of Fair Hill,” said Jay Griswold, Vice President of the Fair Hill Foundation’s Board of Directors. “We look forward to construction getting underway and advancing the plans for the five-star event next year. This is an exciting day for Maryland and all of our great partners who have been supporting this project from the beginning.”
In 2020, Fair Hill will become one of seven locations in the world hosting a five-star. Maryland will join Kentucky as the only other state to host both a five-star and a Triple Crown race. The Maryland five-star is expected to generate millions of dollars in economic impact annually.
Upgrades for the venue include construction of a new cross-country course, already in development under Course Designer, Ian Stark. Three new equestrian arenas will be installed on the infield of the turf course for dressage and show jumping use.
Fair Hill’s historic turf racecourse, built in the late 1920s and modeled after Aintree Racecourse in England, is also being restored. The course will be resurfaced, realigned, and irrigated. Modifications will allow Fair Hill to host world-class turf racing and steeplechase racing. Visit FairHillFoundation.org for more information about the upgrades.
The 2020 USEA Future Event Horse (FEH) East Coast Championships kicked off today at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Maryland following the successful completion of the FEH Central Championships at Haras Hacienda in Magnolia, Texas this past Thursday. Twenty-three horses were presented today to Championship judges Robin Walker and Susan Graham White – four in the FEH East Coast 4-year-old Championship and 18 in the FEH East Coast 3-year-old Championship.
After a rainy night, the footing for the FEI cross-country drained nicely and held up well throughout the morning. Elisabeth Halliday-Sharp held on to her overnight lead aboard Fernhill By Night and added 4.8 time faults to her double clear show jumping round to take home the win in the CCI4*-S. Not one rider was able to make it through the finish flags within the time allowed, but the top 28 had no jumping penalties.
The CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S divisions were able to complete their show jumping before the torrential rain interrupted the competition for the CCI2*-S division.
The 2020 United States Eventing Association (USEA) Future Event Horse (FEH) Central Championships took place yesterday, September 24 at Haras Hacienda in Magnolia, Texas. With four new champions crowned, this marked one of the first USEA Championships to be held in 2020. Jayne Lloyd, the organizer of the Championships shared, “Everyone had a nice day with their youngsters. The quality of horses is getting better and better. Haras [Hacienda] is a lovely facility to put this on – great stabling, great footing, all indoor because we’ve had some bad weather the past few days. But overall, I think it all went really well.”