Gentle Giants

Article and photos by Mary Ellen Graybill

I visited Hunt Valley Mall located at 118 Shawan Road the other day. I found a parking spot and I heard them first – snorts and hoofs clomping on the roadway.

clydesdalesPhotos by Mary Ellen Graybill (the photo in the lower left corner is Budweiser’s Clydesdale Facts Website.

Then I turned around and I saw them- majestic Clydesdales!Talking to other surprised shoppers and a sports news reporter, I learned that the Preakness Race would be the 3rd Saturday in May and that the Budweiser Clydesdales were part of the opening day celebration at Pimlico racetrack in Northwest Baltimore. The horses were an unannounced surprise for the locals!

Pimlico, founded in 1870 at a cost of just $23,500 for the land where the racetrack is built has been the local destiny for decades, with parties and events leading up to the Triple Crown. The event has been run on Saturdays since 1931, and patriotism for the state runs high. It was once so important that the US House of Representatives adjourned in 1877 to allow the staff and representatives to attend the Preakness.

Just the 4th verse of Maryland My Maryland is traditionally sung., The Black Eyed Susan state flower is on graphics everywhere, even though the actual flower doesn’t bloom in the area until later in June.

As Maryland resident, Phyllis Devlin aptly described, “The Preakness is a formstone in Maryland history!”

These pictures I captured tell the story of the majestic and gentle horses, the famous Clydesdales. I hope they convey some of the beauty of the carefully tended and groomed animals!


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