Imagine it’s the late 1800s. Entertainment and sport were quite a bit different than they were today. If you weren’t hunting foxes or quail, you were probably racing your well-trained horse across miles of lush, green fields. You certainly weren’t playing Wii golf or watching the game from the Jumbotron. But on the other hand, traditional sports came with strict regulations. In 1898, a group of Maryland equestrians were deemed too young to compete for the Maryland Hunt Cup. Undeterred, they didn’t just sit around waiting to grow old enough to race a steeplechase. They formed the Grand National Steeplechase, which went on to become a standard in Maryland Timber Racing. The Grand National became popular for its uniqueness and very specific set of challenges. And next weekend, you have the opportunity to see it in all its glory, over one hundred years later, and still as thrilling.
The Grand National is often compared to the Hunt Cup, and with good reason. They’re both extremely demanding, but the Grand National is shorter, at only three miles. However, the shorter distance means a faster race—with horses flying past, over eighteen different obstacles. This year marks the 116th running, which serves as a reminder of both Maryland’s long, rich history of racing, and the fact that it’s still as lively and fun as ever—the perfect way to spend a spring day.
The Grand National Race takes place Saturday, April 21. Click here for more information.
Maryland Steeplechase racing season began Saturday, April 1 and runs through Sunday, May 21. For more information on specific race times and locations, visit www.marylandsteeplechaseassociation.com.
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