Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

Marylander Fred H. Parks, who recently resigned as secretary and handicapper for the National Steeplechase and Hunt Association, was hired as general manager of the new Atlantic City race track, due to hold it’s first meet later in the year, according to John B. Kelly, president of the Atlantic City Racing Association.

One of racing’s most popular officials, Parks had extensive experience in every phase of the sport, starting his career on the Maryland half-mile track circuit to eventually serving in the racing secretary’s office at Pimlico, Laurel, Bowie and Havre de Grace. Other duties included being placing judge at major tracks, and secretary of the breeding bureau of The Jockey Club.

  • Matt L. Daiger retired from his position as secretary and general manager of Pimlico. As president of the Maryland State Fair, he would now focus on the reopening of the fair and Timonium. Since the Army had taken over the fairgrounds in 1942 there had been significant changes. Work was to begin by March to get the stands, stables, offices and track back in shape, with many improvements planned.

    Daiger, who would be 74 in March, had been associated with Pimlico since 1898, secretary since 1905 and became general manager in 1926. He would remain on the track’s board of directors.

  • Bowie was getting a face lift in preparation for the 1946 racing season. Having been closed since the fall of 1942, the track was due to reopen in April. Improvements to cost around $250,000 were being rushed to completion. Fasig-Tipton Company, in promoting its August Saratoga yearling sale, also promoted the upcoming Saratoga race meet, the first since 1942.

    “It returns with an enormous jump in both stakes and purses. . . there is to be an overhauling and renovating of the entire racing plant and track. But best of all it will still be Saratoga!” read the advertisement, “with all the tradition the name implies. What a place!”

  • Maryland Horsemen’s Protective Association executive secretary H.H. Ferguson had the opportunity to see an artist’s drawing of the new track being constructed in Monmouth County near Long Branch, N.J., located on the site of the old Elkwood track which flourished briefly about 50 years earlier. “From all indications it is going to be one of the most beautiful tracks in the country,” he noted. The New Jersey Racing Commission had allotted 36 racing days for the following summer.

    “With a modern track such as this, plus more in the future. . . we in Maryland are going to receive some real competition. . . Picking non-competitive racing dates will soon be a thing of the past,” he wrote.

    “It might be well therefore, if the Maryland racing interests, and that includes horsemen’s associations, racing associations, breeders and the Racing Commission, started pulling together.”

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