News from the DNR Office of Communications

Kentucky Derby Champion Visits Maryland State Park

Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area is temporary home of Animal Kingdom

Elkton, Md. (May 10, 2011) - Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area (NRMA) will serve as the proud home of Kentucky Derby Champion Animal Kingdom for the next two weeks.

The champion horse and his trainer, Graham Motion, fresh off his first-ever Kentucky Derby win, will prepare for the Preakness Stakes at the 300-acre Fair Hill Training Center, which has been located north of the fair grounds and steeplechase track at the State Park since 1975.

“The long-standing partnership with the Fair Hill Training Center in just one example of the positive relationship State Parks enjoy with their local communities,” said Maryland Park Service Superintendent Nita Settina. “We are equally thrilled that Fair Hill NRMA can play host to Animal Kingdom, a wonderful champion, and his highly regarded trainer as they prepare for the next leg of their journey.”

Fair Hill NRMA is a State Park rich in equestrian history, and is home to the National Steeplechase Association, the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau and Fair Hill International. Other major events held throughout the year include the Cecil County Fair in July, and the Fair Hill International 3-Day event, held annually in October.

Animal Kingdom’s presence on the grounds will add increased interest to an eventful May, which includes Greenfest on May 14, the Scottish Games on May 21 and the 77th Running of the Fair Hill Races, scheduled for May 28.

Fair Hill NRMA, consisting of 5,655 acres, was purchased from William DuPont Jr.’s estate in 1975. Since 1990, the grounds and 80 miles of trails have been open to the public and operated as a State Park, including venues for equestrian activities, hiking, biking, hunting and fishing, which were enjoyed by 548,000 visitors in 2010. Together, the State Park and Training Center have a multimillion dollar impact on the local economy and equestrian industry.

Maryland’s state parks not only provide great outdoor recreation for Marylanders and visitors, they are also a great asset to State and local economies. According to a recent study, conducted in partnership with the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the Maryland Office of Tourism Development and the Maryland Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, Maryland State Parks have an estimated annual economic benefit of more than $650 million. In 2010, visitors directly spent more than $567 million locally — $25.56 locally for every dollar the State invests in state parks —during their visits. And almost 95 percent of visitors had their expectations met or exceeded during visits.

   May 10, 2011

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages nearly a half-million acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at