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  It's Only Fair !     

Timonium FairRacing at Maryland State Fair

Thoroughbred racing at Timonium is part of the Maryland State Fair and is the last Agricultural meet in the State. Racing is usually held for about eight days over a period of two weeks and concludes on Labor Day. The facility has an open air grandstand that can seat 5,000 fans, with parking for 5,000 cars. The stable area can accommodate 600 horses.  

Timonium Run as part of the Maryland State Fair became the last throughbred fair meet still running on the East Coast when the last fair ended in New England in 2005. While running only a fair meet Timonium has a respectable 26 purse value index.

Timonium FairThoroughbreds at Timonium

By the early seventies, Hagerstown was long gone and there was an effort in Maryland to transfer the fair dates to the states larger tracks. Marlboro and Timonium were about to get gobbled up, when the management of the Maryland State Fair realized the fair would be in jeopardy without horse racing. For that reason fair racing was saved in Maryland. There's nothing like watching your horse charge down the stretch with a ferris wheel in the background. September 22nd, 1967 was a tragic day at Timonium. Two accidents occurred that day, in one a horse, Yogi Bolero went out of control and hit a outer chain link so hard his left hind leg was torn off, in the other a horse went down during a race. Overall two horses were destroyed and four jockeys were injured.    

In 2011 Timonium ran 8 days over two weekends at the end of August and beginning of September. The purse value index went up a notch to 26. The meets leading rider was Sarah Rook. Racing is on track to continue in 2012. 

In 2012 Timonium ran a 7 day schedule over two weekends ending on Labor Day. Travis Dunkleberger came away with the riding crown.

I only made one visit to Timonium, in August of 1968, when i was one of 10,144 sweltering fans and had the worst experience of any day going to the track. The trip from Norfolk, got a late start, somewhere in Virginia we got a flat tire, not bad but no tire iron. Fortunately there was a Virginia State Trooper parked near where we were, or so we thought. We practically had to get on our knees and beg him to use his tire iron, he finally consented. Guess what ? tire iron wasn't exactly the right size, now I'm beginning to panic, it's getting late. Somehow I made it work, now my buddy just wants to turn around and go home, more panic. The 'track wacky' in me wins out and we continue on, should have known better.

Finally we reach the fairgrounds, parking is a mile away. Get into the track, it's packed and it's hot, bought a beer to cool off, by the time I got got to the grandstand where I might be able to see the race the beer might as well have been coffee! Needless to say it was all downhill from there, didn't come close to cashing a ticket, just had enough money for gas to get home. Good thing there were no tools. As we left the track there was one final annoyance. The car developed a vapor lock and stalled out at a red light, I ended up having to get out and push the car through a busy intersection so it could be jump started. Good bye Timonium.