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The Maryland racetrack of Bel Air was built on a 100 acre site by George Ray Bryson and first opened its gates to racing in 1937. It was situated east of the Tollgate Road and just a mile north of Baltimore Park.  Racing was first staged in the State in 1870 when the Maryland Jockey Club was founded, with Pimlico leading the way, although racing without betting was launched at Bel Air soon afterwards. Indeed, Bel Air experimented with a number of ventures on its early 4 furlong oval track to increase attendance, including harness races, steeplechases and athletics meetings. However, racing had lapsed by the start of the 20th century.  The later track was just 6 furlongs in circumference and enjoyed a new grandstand in 1936. The track raced successfully until the late 1940s when attempts were made to close the track and, as a consequence, crowds became depleted. Unfortunately Ray Bryson died in 1958 and the track closed just 2 years later in 1960. There is little evidence today of the site on which the old track stood, the ground being covered by the Harford Mall.

Local Patrons Maryland Jockey Club, George Ray Bryson
Course today The racecourse closed in 1960
If you have photos, postcards, racecards. badges, newspaper cuttings or book references about the old course, or can provide a photo of how the ground on which the old racecourse stood looks today, then email

ISBN 978-0-9957632-0-3

652 pages

774 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-1-0

352 pages

400 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-2-7

180 pages

140 former courses

ISBN 978-0-9957632-3-4

264 pages

235 former courses

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