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Fair Hill Training Center and Champion Horses to Receive Touch of Class Awards on Saturday

Fair Hill logoANNAPOLIS, MD — Management of the 350-acre Fair Hill Training Center — which has become one of the premier U.S. and international racehorse training facilities during its 33 year history and is home base to two current North American champion racehorses — will receive the May Touch of Class Award from the Maryland Horse Industry Board on Saturday, May 23, during the annual Fair Hill Races in Elkton (Cecil County). The MHIB is a program within the Maryland Department of Agriculture.

The presentation will take place at about 2 p.m. in front of the grandstand after the third race. The Touch of Class Award honors Maryland horses, people and organizations who achieve national and international acclaim. The award is named in honor of Touch of Class, a former Maryland-bred Olympic champion horse.

Receiving the honor on behalf of Fair Hill will be Dr. John R.S. Fisher, one of the facility’s founders; Bruce Jackson, president of the center; and Sally Goswell, manager. In addition, awards will be presented to the stables of Main Sequence, reigning U.S. Champion Turf and Older Male runner; and Valiant Boy, the reigning Arabian Racing Horse of the Year.

Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder will make the presentation with MHIB Chairman Jim Steele. Joining them will be MHIB board members Jay Griswold and Bev Raymond; DNR Assistant Secretary Dave Goshorn and Program Director Olivia Campbell; and, manager of the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area Manager Rachel Temby, who oversees the facility for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Both Main Sequence and Valiant Boy live and train at Fair Hill in the barns of Graham Motion and Elizabeth Merryman, respectively. Last season, both horses were undefeated in their four starts en route to North American championships and are currently training at Fair Hill to defend their titles. Their travels have taken them to racetracks in California, Texas, Kentucky, New York, New Jersey and Delaware and this spring to Dubai. But when they returned home, it was to Cecil County and their stalls at Fair Hill. Collectively, they have won more than $5 million.

“I don’t think anyone ever imagined back in 1982 that this training center would be so wildly successful,” said Jim Steele. “It has been the training ground for Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup winners and now two Horses of the Year.”

Owners from around the world send their horses to Fair Hill, which is owned by the State of Maryland, but offered on a longtime lease to the individual barn owners who operate as a condominium-type association.

“It is a perfect example of an extremely successful public-private partnership,” Steele added.

There are 17 barns at Fair Hill, which can house a maximum of 700 horses. The center is one of the largest employers in Cecil County, with some 500 trainers, grooms, exercise riders, hotwalkers, farriers, veterinary personnel and other service vendors working there year round.

For more information about the Touch of Class award, contact MHIB Executive Director Ross Peddicord at ross.peddicord@maryland.gov or 410-841-5798.

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Contact Information

If you have any questions, need additional information or would like to arrange an interview, please contact:
Jessica Hackett
Director of Communications
Telephone: 410-841-5888

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