Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

Ronnie and Betsy Houghton’s Sylmar Farm, on the outskirts of Rising Sun in Maryland, was humming along, reported Snowden Carter. 

Having made the move from Camden, S.C., to the 60-acre property four years earlier, 35-year-old Ronnie – a trainer of flat horses and jumpers, believed he and his wife found the perfect spot for the 46 horses in their care. 

“We can do everything here that we could at a racetrack—and a lot more, too,” said the older brother of Buckingham Farm owner Eddie Houghton. “We’ve put in our own 5-furlong track, schooling fences for the jumpers, two sand paddocks, four grass paddocks and two large turnout paddocks.

“But the main thing about this place is its location. It’s so convenient to the tracks in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and even New York. This is really one darn good area.” 

The Houghtons later moved to Lancaster County, Pa., where Sylmar still operates (Ronnie died at age 79 in 2018).

  • Syndicate-owned Wise Exchange was represented by his first stakes-winner when Divine Grace, a 2-year-old filly from his first crop, captured the Oak Leaf Stakes-G2 at Santa Anita. An 8-year-old son of Promised Land and stakes winner of over $173,000, Wise Exchange stood at the Stymie Manor Farm in Monkton, Md., for a live foal fee of $1,000.

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