This is quite unlike the earlier races of the season, being held in western Howard County, to the west of Baltimore. For the past five weeks all of the races have taken place north of Baltimore in Baltimore and Harford Counties.
The dress here is slightly more casual than Grand National or Hunt Cup, but dressier than the Green Spring or Elkridge-Harford Point-to-Points. And with warmer weather comes less of a need to bundle up against the elements.
These races were first run in May 1931, as part of the Howard County Horse Show, then held at Doughoregan Manor. The trophy was first offered by T. Stockton Matthews as a challenge cup to be retired when one three times. The race was originally open only to horses owned and hunted regularly by members of the Howard County Hunt.
The Howard County Cup
1934 and 1935 saw the running of the Glenelg Cup, a race over 1 1/2 miles and 12 brush jumps, held at the Howard County Land Owners and Farmers Field Day in September of those years. Even in these early years, pony races were a part of the race card, as were mule races.
By 1936 the race was extended to 3 miles over brush and post and rail fences, but in 1938, the course once again was shortened to 1 1/2 miles.
By 1960, the race was being run over a 3 1/2 mile course at what is now the Glenelg County School and then in 1963 the race moved to a 3 mile course consisting of 18 post and rail fences at Merriweather Farm on Roxbury Road.
The Ada Clark first run about 1961 and the Founder's Cup was added in 1977. In 1991 Junior Races returned to the race card and the Foxhunter Timber was added to the card as well.
2013 Howard County Cup
The mules races are now a thing of the past, and the race is now held at the end of the spring timber season, rather than in mid-March where it once sat on the Maryland schedule. But this is still a very challenging course and a chance to enjoy some great racing at a venue that is much less the "social" circus than you will find in the Plains, Virginia that same day.
So if you are looking for a nice way to spend a Spring afternoon, consider the Howard County-Iron Bridge Point-to-Point. Some great Maryland timber horses will be here racing for the Howard County Cup this year, as they do every year. And even their ponies jump timber!
Check out the Maryland Steeplechase Association website for more information: