The founders of the My Lady’s Manor Point-to-Point were members of the oldest families on the land granted by Lord Baltimore in the 1700s: J. Myers Pearce, Charles Morgan Pearce, John Rush Streett, and Walter Hutchins. The first winner of the race was Kitty West, owned by Charles M. Pearce and ridden by Lake Hutchins. But when the first race of that name debuted on April 24, 1909, My Lady’s Manor Point-to-Point was part and parcel of a popular local tradition dating from the early settlers to the newest Manor residents.
The Maryland Gazette of 1759, for example, noted that the Maryland Jockey Club, founded in 1745, scheduled three days of racing in the town of Joppa. The horsemen of those days were more concerned with endurance than with speed. Races were run in four-mile heats and a horse needed to win at least two heats to be accorded victory.
By 1900 formal racing was well established on the Manor at Manor Glen on the Jarrettsville Pike. For more than a decade two meets were held each year, one in the spring and another in the fall.
On Sunday April 25, 1909, the Baltimore Sun informed its readers that the My Lady’s Manor Point-to-Point “attracted a great number of lovers of racing, and there was some fine sport.” The Union News declared the weather “good, sunny and cool” and remarked on the “beautiful turnouts in which sat the elite of the countryside. This is a social affair and no admission was charged.”
In the 1920s many new owners and riders like Foxhall Keene were drawn to My Lady’s Manor because of the excellent fox hunting. Baltimoreans such as Wallace Lanahan and W.K. and Ernest Levering joined racing enthusiasts Janon Fisher, Jr., Redmond C. Stewart, George Blakiston, Jack Symington, Stuart Janney, Jr., C.L.A. Heiser, Holmes Alexander, Daniel Brewster, Sr., and Francis Iglehart. from the Green Spring and Elkridge. Non-Marylanders such as Joseph Flanagan, Ambrose Clark, George Saportas, Jr., and Mrs. M.K. Stevenson of New York, Joseph Neff Ewing, Charles Cheston, and Mr. and Mrs. John Valentine of Philadelphia, T. Morgan Bowen of Buffalo, and B. Leslie Behr and Francis Johnson of Chicago also found My Lady’s Manor racing to their taste. The decade likewise launched the addition of the John Rush Street Memorial to the Manor race card in 1922.
With the advent of the Great Depression in the thirties, the lavish hunting and house parties at the Harford Hunt were considerably diminished. Some immigrants such as Foxhall Keene disappeared from the Manor scene; others visited far less frequently. The Manor Races flourished nevertheless, with as many as four races on the card.
The last two years before World War II and the two years after belonged heart and soul to Stuart S. Janney, Jr. Janney is the only jockey to win the My Lady’s Manor Point-to-Point six times. He rode in the Manor nine times, not to mention countless John Rush Streett Memorials. Winton, with Janney aboard, is the only horse ever to win all three of Maryland’s major timber races in the same year, My Lady’s Manor, the Grand National, and the Maryland Hunt Cup, twice. Amazingly this happened in 1942 and 1946, separated by a world war.
H. Turney McKnight, who moved to the area in 1969, won four My Lady’s Manor Point-to-Points, was second twice and three times third in the ten years between 1973 and 1983. In addition McKnight took over as chairman of the meet (a position he continues to hold) and oversaw the historic move from the 69-year old venue on the Pearce property to the newly constructed course on the grounds of the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club.
Of the horses that won the My Lady’s Manor Point-to-Point only one was victorious four times: Sam Son Of A Gun (1980-1983) owned by W. Wallace Lanahan, Jr. Two horses won the race three times: Winton (1942, 1946, 1947) and Ironfist (2000-2002). Eighteen My Lady’s Manor winners have won the Maryland Hunt Cup: Burgoright, Bon Master, Alligator. Brose Hover, Hotspur 2nd, Winton, Pine Pep, Land’s Corner, Lancrel, Jay Trump, Landing Party, Early Earner, Jacko, Our Steeplejack, Freeman’s Hill, Von Csadek, Ivory Poacher, and Askim. Of those, three have won the Maryland Hunt Cup three times: Winton, Pine Pep, and Jay Trump.
Since 1984, the My Lady’s Manor Races have been run for the benefit of their neighbor, Ladew Topiary Gardens.
---Excerpted from The My Lady’s Manor Races 1909-2009 by Margaret Worrall
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