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HagerstownAfternoon Action

Hagerstown opened as a half mile track in 1929. It closed in 1970, at some point the track was expanded to five eights of a mile. It was an open air facility that had seating for 4,800 in the grandstand, the clubhouse accommodated 900 and included a dining room. The stable area could house 600 horses.

HagerstownTake the Bus

Racing at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds dates back to before the twentieth century, although pari mutual thoroughbred racing didn't begin until 1929. Hagerstown was part of the Maryland Fair Racing Circuit. By the early sixties the circuit had been reduced to three tracks, Hagerstown, Timonium and Marlboro. The circuit started in late summer when the runners returned from the Delaware Park meet. Hagerstown raced the middle meet, starting in mid September, running about 18 days on its five eights mile oval. Hagerstown was also the only track not located in the greater Baltimore, Washington area. In 1970 the Maryland Racing Commission decided that the fair dates at Hagerstown and Marlboro should be transferred to the major Maryland Tracks.

Before 6,087 fans jockey Ronald Witner guided Nickel Buddy across the finish line in the ninth race on October 3, 1970, bringing the curtain down on 41 years of racing at the Hagerstown Fair Grounds. Legendary local favorite Jesse Davidson captured another riding title at the meet. As a fitting tribute to a final goodbye, Nickel Buddy set the track record for one mile and one sixteenth in that final race with a time of 146 1/5. In an earlier race on the card T.W.'s B'feater tied the track record for on mile in 1:39 1/5. Guess they were really trying that afternoon.

It has been over forty years since the sound of hoof beats has been heard in Hagerstown, or even years since the racing surface has existed, but the grandstand is still standing, waiting for the cheering fans to return on a fall day.