Remembering the old days at the horse races

harford history

October 12, 2008

Much of the history of horse racing in Harford County has been gathered by George Washington Archer, the late local historian. From sources such as the Maryland Gazette and Maryland Journal, Archer gleaned information about races sponsored by taverns and prominent individuals as early as the mid-1700s. One such event was the "Harford Races" advertised on October 10, 1786. According to The Maryland Journal, the races were "to be held on a beautiful race course in the town of Havre de Grace." Specific stallions were advertised as being entered in the races, along with details of the prizes being offered, such as saddles, fire arms and cash. Similar events were held throughout the county and involved heats run over a course that was several miles long. The horse finishing first in the greatest number of heats was declared the winner.

Source: Harford Historical Bulletin, Fall 1997

Compiled by staff at Harford County Public Library

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