Harford History

August 20, 2006

The Graw

On Aug. 24, 1912, a horse named Insurance Man won the first race run at a new track in Havre de Grace. The last race, on April 26, 1950, was won by a horse named Charlight. Between 1912 and 1950 the track known as "The Graw" made the city famous.

The Graw was popular for high-quality racing and attracted great horses. Man O'War won the Potomac Plate there in 1920. Citation raced there three times, twice in his Triple Crown year of 1948. War Admiral also raced there, as did Seabiscuit and Equipoise.

There were 13 days of racing in April and 17 in September. The B&O and Pennsylvania railroads ran special trains for the sporting crowds from New York and Philadelphia, and the city boomed.

The track closed during World War II and never really prospered again when it reopened, mostly because of new competition from racing in New Jersey. When the track closed in 1950, the property was sold to the Maryland National Guard.

[Havre de Grace: An Informal History, edited by Peter A. Jay. Research by Harford County Public Library.]

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