Universal York

Part of the USA Today Network

Racehorses Always Popular in York County

Lewis Miller drawing of 1804 York horserace
I was intrigued to see that the famous stallion Smarty Jones will be staying just a couple of miles from me for a while. Ghost Ridge Farms, 860 Dietz Rd., York (between Longstown and Freysville in Windsor Twp.) is holding a public open house tomorrow, November 20, to meet him and some other noted racehorses.
York County interest in racehorses goes back a couple of hundred years, as seen in the Lewis Miller drawing above. In Miller’s era, in the first half of the 19th century, many Yorkers owned their own horses and raced them.
Miller included a detailed description of what was going on and who was involved in this exciting race. He numbered several people in the drawing and commented as follows:

Old race ground, it was from the Peachbottom road out South. Spangler’s gray horse won every race very easily by more than two lengths, without being headed. The excitement was immense, after running the horses. See the number[s].
1. William Spangler and the gray horse. George Spangler, number 2. Zachariah Spangler, 4.–This race was in the year 1804. Michael Edward, 3, the old friend of George. A love of their horse, dog, and gun–in short, neither time, trouble, nor expense was spared to render with mingled feelings of pride and satisfaction to themselves.
5. Old Grandfather–George Spangler, go down from the fence, you boys, he was a haste old man.

Then too, there is the tradition of racing at the York Fair. Click the links below for more on York Fair races.
Races drew crowds at 1867 fair.
York Fair track one of the best in the 1920s.
Varied racing at the fair in the 1950s.
Harness racing continues at fair.
2010 York Fair races.