Some of the world's best steeplechase horses will compete Saturday at the 55th International Gold Cup Races at Great Meadow race course in the Plains, Va.
The term "steeplechase" is said to have been coined back in 1752 by two Irishmen who made a wager to race their horses across the Irish countryside from Buttevant Church to St. Leger Church. The men raced their horses for some four and a half miles over hedges and fences as they "chased to the steeple" of St. Leger. Steeplechase races in Virginia were run as early as 1844.
Gates open at 10 a.m., and prerace activities include terrier races and pony races. Opening ceremonies are scheduled at 1 p.m. with post time at 1:30 p.m. Six of the seven races are over brush and timber, and the final race is run on the flat. The main event, the International Gold Cup Timber Stakes, is at 3:30 p.m. Food will be available on the grounds.
A general admission car pass, which admits up to six people, costs $40. The race course is three miles south of the Plains exit off Interstate 66. Call (800) 69RACES.
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