Merryland Farm: Home
Merryland Farm in Hydes, Maryland, is a full-service breaking and training center. Encompassing 180 acres with numerous pastures and round pens, plus a 5/8th-mile training track, and located 20 miles south of Fair Hill and an hour north of Laurel, Merryland is the perfect place to send your yearling to be broken or your racehorse to get legged-up.
Merryland Farm was founded in 1939, when former owner Danny Shea first broke yearlings on the property. The 5/8th-mile training track that Shea built was actually about 100 feet shy of that distance. So, Shea installed a pair of finish lines — one, "Danny's selling pole" for use when prospective purchasers had a stop watch on the action, and the other when Shea was deciding which of his 2-year-olds to send to the races.
When Shea died in 1960, Merryland was the largest commercial horse farm in Maryland. His widow, Betty Shea Miller, continued to manage the farm for another 30 years after Shea's death. Betty Shea Miller was known for her humorous wit and her racy Christmas cards — and she kept Merryland pristine and productive during her tenure while it was owned by Mrs. Henry Obre (the niece of Harry Guggenheim, owner of Kentucky Derby winner Dark Star).
Back-to-back Two-Year-Old Champions were broken at Merryland. In 1968, Elberon Farm's Process Shot was recognized as the nation's top 2-year-old filly after learning the racing game at Merryland. The following year, Elberon sent out another Merryland-broke juvenile champion in Silent Screen — one of the favorites for the 1970 Kentucky Derby for Elberon's principal, Sonny Werblin of New Jersey.
Accepted by the Baltimore County Department of Parks and Recreation as a charitable donation in 1993, Merryland was subsequently purchased at public auction by Delaware park owner William Rickman in 1999. Rickman spent the following two years restoring Merryland to functionality before Country Life bought the property in 2001.
Merryland Farm: Breaking and Training
Jackie Savoye, who took charge at Merryland in November, 2016 and the rest of the Merryland staff are experienced and knowledgable, and willing to work with you to customize a plan designed to most effectively and successfully get your horse to the racetrack. We encourage owners and trainers to come out and watch their horses train. You can read all about Jackie and the rest of the Merryland staff on our "Team" page.
Merryland features a 5/8th-mile training track with a sand-based surface, and workout times are reported to Equibase™ (where they appear as "MRY"). We have a six-stall starting gate where we school our trainees.
The exercise riders at Merryland are all licensed and typically spend their mornings riding at Laurel or one of the other local race tracks (training at Merryland occurs between 12:30 and 3:00 p.m. each day rather than first thing in the morning).
Please Contact Us for more information or to set up a time to come tour our facilities.
Merryland Farm: Recent Graduates
Merryland turned out top class race horses as far back as the 1960s, when Process Shot and Silent Screen were named the best of their respective divisions in 1968 and 1969.
Merryland breaking and training graduates of less historical vintage include graded stakes winner Perfect Moon and other stakes winners Brushed By Love, Dark Thunder, Merryland Missy, Moonlit Malibu, Pagan Priestess, Sagamoon, Sloane Ranger, Spectacular Malibu, and Tujoes.
And the winning tradition continues with these Merryland Graduates:
No Horses Currently Listed
Merryland Farm: The "House"
Merryland features a beautiful 1840s farm house where out-to-town clients and guests are welcome and encouraged to stay when they visit the farm and their horses.
The Merryland house contains three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus the two-bed "suite" know as "the Jockey's Quarters." A diner-style counter in the kitchen and a beautiful covered patio are perfect for warming up on a chilly fall day or chatting over drinks well into the night, as the case may be. The house has been furnished with racing photos and memorabilia by Lisa Pons, and is worth a visit to observe the decor alone.
Located 20 yards from our training track and with panoramic views of the barns and property, the Merryland house is a great place to come relax for a weekend in the country.