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Fair Hill Makes Short List to Host International Equestrian Event

Informational Open House Scheduled February 15

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is pleased to announce that Fair Hill Natural Resource Management Area in Cecil County has been identified as a possible venue to host a world-class equestrian event. The United States Equestrian Federation announced January 18 that Fair Hill and one other facility in the country are in the running to host a proposed 4* event in the fall of 2019.

The chosen facility will then be considered by the sport’s international governing body, Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), to become only the seventh facility in the world to host this prestigious event.

The public is invited to a community open house at Fair Hill from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. February 15 at the Edward L. Walls Activity Hall, 4640 Telegraph Road, Elkton, to learn about improvements to Fair Hill’s steeplechase track and grandstands and the proposed event.

Experts and guests from several organizations will be available at the open house, which is sponsored by Fair Hill International, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Sports Commission, and Maryland Horse Industry Board. Refreshments will be provided. Anyone with questions about the open house should call the Fair Hill office at 410-398-1246.

“This is great news for the horse community and industry as well as Cecil County and state of Maryland,” Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said. “I applaud the community-led efforts to bring this world-class equestrian event to Fair Hill, and I am further encouraged that the planned upgrades to the racetrack and fairgrounds are moving ahead.”

As landowner and manager of the property, the department has been working closely with the community, and equestrian organizations and stakeholders to ensure that the proposal for the 4* event contributes the greatest benefit to all park users while preserving and protecting the treasured ecological and rural character of the area.

“Being selected to host the 4* would be a game changer for the Maryland horse industry,” said Maryland Horse Industry Board Chair Jim Steele. “It puts us on par with Kentucky by hosting a Triple Crown race and a 4* event. Each year during the month surrounding the 4*, Maryland would be the center of the horse universe and attract equine enthusiasts from all over.”

“This is a significant milestone in our effort to bring this magnificent 4* event to Fair Hill and the greater mid-Atlantic region,” said Maryland Sports Commission Executive Director Terry Hasseltine. “We look forward to continuing to work with all our partners to make this opportunity a reality.”

“I am very excited about the future of the 4* event at Fair Hill,” said Fair Hill International President Trish Gilbert. “For 30 years our hardworking volunteers and board have come together to produce this popular event that draws support from our highest level national and international competitors. In partnership with the Department of Natural Resources, Sports Commission and Horse Industry Board, we will be able to achieve our vision of promoting world class sport right here in Maryland.”