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Annapolis Subscription Plate

Annapolis Subscription Plate
The Annapolis Subscription Plate
Sport Horse racing
Founded 1743
Claim to fame First recorded formal horse race in colonial Maryland
Country(ies) Maryland, Template:Country data Maryland
Most recent champion(s) Dungannon

The Annapolis Subscription Plate is the name given both to the first recorded formal horse race in colonial Maryland and to the silver trophy awarded to the winner of the race. It is the second oldest known horse racing trophy in America.[1]



The race took place on the South river near Annapolis in May 1743.[1]Charles Carroll (1703–1783) - whose son, also called Charles Carroll, would later sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776 - wagered that his horse would win in a 3-mile race.

Carroll's rival was Dungannon, owned by the tobacco planter and horse breeder George Hume Steuart who imported the thoroughbred from England. The race was held at Parole, Maryland, at what would later become the Parole Hunt Club.[2] Dungannon won the race,[1] establishing a tradition of horse racing at Parole that would last until the club's sale and redevelopment as a shopping center in 1962.

The silver plate itself - in reality more of a bowl than a plate - is now displayed in the Baltimore Museum of Art, and was made by the Annapolis silversmith John Inch (1721–1763).[3] Punch bowls were popular as racing trophies in the Eighteenth Century.[4] It is the oldest surviving silver object made in Maryland and the second oldest horseracing trophy in America.[3]

Racing was suspended during the American Revolution, but a meeting of the Jockey Club took place on Saturday, March 1, 1783, at Mr Mann's tavern in Annapolis, at which a number of Dr Steuart's descendents were present. Club rules were set down including that the plate given by the club should be run on the first Tuesday of November, at Annapolis, that the prize money should be "sixty guineas", and that the annual subscription should be "three guineas".[5]

Modern era

The original plate was donated to the Baltimore Museum of Art by Mrs Alice Key Montell and Mrs Sarah Steuart Hartshorne.[3] A solid silver replica of similar weight and dimensions mirroring the original Annapolis Subscription Plate was commissioned in 1955 by the Maryland Jockey Club.
File:Dungannon Bowl.jpg
"The Dungannon Bowl" is presented to the winner of annual Dixie Stakes
That replica, "The Dungannon Bowl", is a perpetual trophy given annually to the winner of the Dixie Stakes, the oldest stakes race run in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic states.[6]

The race has been revived in certain recent years by the descendants of Dr Steuart, who still live at Dodon today.[7]


  • Richardson. Hester Dorey, Side-Lights on Maryland History: With Sketches of Early Maryland Families, Genealogical Publishing Com, 1995, ISBN 0-8063-0296-8, 9780806302966.
  • Nelker, Gladys P., The Clan Steuart, Genealogical Publishing, 1970.
  • Steuart, Richard Sprigg, Dr. George Steuart of Annapolis and Doden, Anne Arundel County and his descendants, S.N. 1955
  • Museum Quarterly of the Baltimore Museum of Art, April-June 1936.

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 History of Maryland Jockey Club Retrieved Jan 21 2010
  2. Nelker, 118
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Museum-Quarterly of the Baltimore Museum of Art April-June 1936 Retrieved Jan 21 2010
  4. Phillips, John Marshall, p.75, American Silver, Dover Publications (2001) Retrieved Jan 21 2010
  5. American Turf Register and Sporting Magazine, Volume 5, p.65 (1833). Retrieved Jan 21 2010
  6. 126th Preakness Stakes Souvenir Magazine, May 19, 2001, article titled, "It All Began Here, In Annapolis..." page 95-96 Retrieved Jan 21 2010
  7. Article on Annapolis Subscription Plate at www.hometownannapolis.com Retrieved Jan 21 2010


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