Ferris Allen is a charter member of the MTHA, having served on the board of directors from 1987 to 2002. He received the Outstanding Service to Maryland Horsemen award in 1990 and served as the board’s Vice President for 12 years.
Allen considers the establishment of the Backstretch Recreation Program as his most important accomplishment. He was also instrumental as chairperson of the Condition Book Committee in creating protocol that is still in use today, and he pushed hard for the successful Backstretch Pension Program that continues to provide benefits to grooms, hot walkers, exercise riders and trainers. Allen, a Virginia native, lives in Clarksville and has resided in Maryland continuously since 1979.
His daughter, Jane Allen Blayman, operates Warwick Equine Services at Hickory Ridge Farm. After graduating from the College of William and Mary, he taught government and coached baseball and basketball at his hometown Varina High School, and spent his off hours training a few racehorses.
A full-time trainer since 1976, Allen has been a stalwart on the Maryland circuit for almost 40 years and has won more than 2,200 races, trained many stakes winners and won numerous training titles. His stakes winners include Passeggiata, Chrusciki, Palette Knife, Miracle Wood and Wicked Awesome. He is Colonial Downs’ all-time-leading trainer and he led all Maryland trainers in 1999.
Allen’s primary role as an MTHA Board member has been serving as chairman of the Recreation Committee. Allen led a revival of the program, which has seen a great increase in participation and services offered highlighted by the MTHA Express transportation service for backstretch employees. Allen also serves on the very important Purse Committee, having served since 2016.
Allen said he wants to return a quality racing experience for horsemen and fans in Maryland, ensure the upcoming rebuilds of Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course are terrifically done, and see more accountability from racing management in matters affecting horsemen.
“I believe strongly that the MTHA should have a seat at the table with everything that goes on in Maryland racing from the revitalization of both tracks to the day-in and day-out decisions about the track, backstretch conditions and the promotion of our industry,” Allen said.