May 5, 2018 Sharing the Details teamed up with Purple People Media to exclusively cover this year’s Virginia Gold Cup (Steeplechase races) at Great Meadows, located in The Plains, VA. Attendees paid around $100 upwards to several thousands (beyond VIP) to attend this Spring tradition and Social event. Pets are not allowed to this event but children under 12 years old can get in for free! Races were also held rain or shine.
Every year, around 45,000 horse (or what I like to call HAT) enthusiasts attend the Virginia Gold Cup to watch hurdle and timber races, Jack Russell Terrier races, participate in the tailgate contest, make massive bets, smoke the finest cigars, and participate in the most creative hat contest known in the DMV area.
Did you know that The Virginia Gold Cup is one of the nation’s largest steeplechase races? The event is held every year on the same day as the Kentucky Derby and is attended by celebrities, socialites, visitors from around the world. This is also one of the Washington, DC region’s largest and oldest outdoor events.
The Virginia Gold Cup event was created by eight athletes who met at the Fauquier Club in Warrenton, Virginia and organized a four-mile race alongside the the nearby hunting countryside on April 3, 1922. This short race was what inspired the first Virginia Gold Cup race.If you want to learn more about the history of the Virginia Gold Cup, click here.
For this event, I knew I had to dress to impress. So I bought a floppy, white, hat and a floral dress from Nordstrom. I also had a gut feeling that traffic was going to be a bit of a head ache so I decided to add an extra 30 minutes to my trip (instead of 1.5 hours, this drive averaged around 2 hours). The Great Meadows park is an hour west from Washington DC and not accessible by public transportation. For those who don’t want to drive up, Lindy Promotions hosted a bus trip.
Great Meadows is a 380-acre field events center and steeplechase course located in the heart of Virginia’s Piedmont countryside.
The park grounds were massive. I parked in lot area 4, around the South Rail and was fortunate to be able to pick up a map before the event. Much emphasis of the map was placed on where to get to your next betting booth, and for novice gamblers, here’s some tips courtesy of TripSavvy and Virginia Gold Cup on How to place a bet.
- Win: The horse must finish first
- Place: The horse must finish first or second
(you collect the amount for second)
- Show: The horse must finish first, second or third
(you collect the amount for third)
- Exacta: You must pick the horses that finish first AND second in exact order
- Trifecta: You must pick the horses that finish first, second AND third in exact order
As I was walking through the course, I noticed there were around 30 vendors selling food, hats, cigars, and beyond! Men and women, alike, smoked cigars in an old-timey-fashion way much like those films you watch in a Turner Classic movie.
Wearing a decked out hat: flowers, curly-cues, and even some Cinco de Mayo inspired flare, was the best way for women and men, alike, to express creativity, tradition, and one’s innate desire to make conversation. Fashion magazines time and time again often advise to always wear a statement piece whenever you go to a social or a gala in order to spark ripe conversation. It was really easy to make conversation at this social because the conversation starter was right above everyone’s heads.
The Jack Russell Terriers were so cute! Watching several of these pooches race made my heart swell. This was a popular race for ladies, such as myself, since these dogs were oh so adorable. Aside from pup watching, I knew I needed a drink to quench my thirst.
After much conversing with notable bloggers, local celebs and even a few socialites, the most popular drink was the mint julep. I had one hand crafted by notable bar- artists from Harry’s Gastro Pub located in VA! This was the first time I ever ordered a mint julep and this may be one of my favorite mixed drinks of all time. Drinking this elixir made me think of something crisp like a fresh glass of sprite yet think of the first bite of a York Peppermint paddy. This drink inspired me to eat more goodies from Harrys!
Harrys was one of the catering sponsors for this event and I have to admit, I do love their food! The cucumber & smoked salmon with lemon cream cheese, bon bons, caramel brownies, avocado and shrimp ceviche, smoked wings, Gochuchang wings, and burger sliders with cheddar cheese won my heart and soul.
Another popular drink and also the official sponsor of the Kentucky Derby was Woodford Reserve Whiskey. All you really need is a few shots and you will feel ready to predict a winner on the first and last race of the day.
Speaking of winners, the big winner of the 93rd Virginia Gold Cup races and the big winner of $100,00 was Casanova-bred Zanclus, bred by Sara and Bruce Collette. Kieran Norris, a Virginia-based jockey, rode the winning stallion. Second in line was Le Chevalier, bred by Julie Gomena and ridden by Gerard Galligan. Ebanour, the clear favorite to win this year and the two-time defending race winner, placed fourth this year.
About Virginia Gold Cup
The Virginia Gold Cup is a non-profit that started in 1922 that holds Steeplechase Racing to support the sport of steeplechase. Steeplechasing in Virginia has been a way of life since early Colonial times when the horse was the primary way of transportation, farming and war. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson met in sporting competition over fences. Organized steeplechase races have run in Fauquier County since 1844.