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The Virginia Gold Cup

     This was our second annual visit to see the 84th annual running of the world famous steeplechase horse race known as The Virginia Gold Cup. This spectacular spring event is held at Great Meadow in The Plains, a town located in the beautiful rolling hills horse country of Fauquier County, VA.

Steeplechasing in Virginia has dated back to Colonial times; it is known that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson met in a sporting competition over the fence.     

     This steeplechase event was started by eight sportsmen in 1922 who met at The Fauquier Club in Warrenton, VA and they organized a four-mile race.  On April 3, 1922, just 34 days later, they held the first Virginia Gold Cup race.  The first Virginia Gold Cup was a single race event; the riders were to be “gentlemen wearing racing colors or officers of the U.S. Army in uniform.”  Nine horses competed that May at Oakwood, the great estate on Waterloo Road near Warrenton  overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and once owned by President Lincoln’s personal physician, Dr. Robert King Stone.

     The Gold Cup was relocated in 1982 when executive and philanthropist, Arthur W. (Nick) Arundel purchased a 500-acre site on an abandoned farm about 10 miles north of the old Broadview course.   Great Meadow is the Virginia Gold Cup’s permanent home.  One hundred seventy acres is donated to facilitate the annual equestrian event.

     The four-mile course tests the stamina of horse and jockey as they jump the four-foot post and rail timber fences, gallop full speed into the shallow water hazard, over the rolling grassy hills and at all times remain aware of the other horse and rider.
Race day events feature seven races, as well as hat and tailgate trophies.   This is the time for the ladies to wear those magnificent, outlandish hats that we don’t usually wear any more, and dress in our loveliest, flowery sundresses and flat shoes (no heels).  The gentlemen can wear an ascot or a bowtie, and go all out and wear their white linen or seersucker suit.

     Your tailgate can be set up with your finest silver and china and, by all means, try to outdo everyone else’s flower arrangement and don’t forget the candelabra! This is a true Southern social event attended by 50,000 people.
The Virginia Gold Cup has, over the past century, made steeplechase racing the most prestigious sport in America.  Mr. Arundel says, “What this generation and the Virginia Gold Cup is doing at Great Meadow is driven by harmony with its community, its tradition and its environment.”

For more information visit http://www.vagoldcup.com

     Horseman, Gaylord and Angel

                           All about horses and hats                                        

                     A closer look at one of the horses

                                         And they are off

                           Dee Dee and Son, Doug

                        A meeting place for friends                                              

Doug stated he has been attending the GC Races for over 20 years

                         Tarren and her Dad, Marc


*Pictured above in top photo: L to R: Susan Russell, Dave and DeeDee MacDonald

Copyright © 2008-2015 DeeDee MacDonald

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