The Virginia Point-to-point season may be winding down, but the National Steeplechase Association’s in full stride. If you’re looking for fun and excitement this weekend, there are two race meetings: Saturday’s Foxfield Spring Races (NSA) in Charlottesville (www.foxfieldraces.com) and Sunday’s Middleburt Hunt Point-to-point at Glenwood Park.
Middleburg Hunt offers general admission at the gate: $15 per person, $10 for parking. Post time for Middleburg’s first race is 1 p.m. with a full card of eight races. If you want to dress up as if it’s Ascot, be sure to enter the Best Hat and Best Tie competitions, sponsored by Highcliffe; judging of adults and young entry will take place at the base of the green tower at about 3:30.
On Saturday, May 6, racing enthusiasts will gather for the 91st running of the Virginia Gold Cup, the feature of the day with seven other races over timber and hurdles and on the flat. Reserved tailgate spaces are sold out, but enthusiasts can purchase the general admission car pass that admits 6 passengers for $85 at special outlets or online (vagoldcup.com/va/tickets). General admission car passes (no walk-ins) are available via cash only on Gold Cup Day at Gate 8 on Route 17 and at Gate 9, accessible only by driving south on Rt. 245 from The Plains or from Route 66’s exit ramps. For information: 540-347-2612.
Please Note: Absolutely no dogs at Great Meadow on Gold Cup Day. With an estimated attendance of 50,000 spectators and possible warm temperatures, better safe than sorry – please leave your pets at home.
Wagering: you can bet on the Gold Cup races and, new this year, you can also bet on the Kentucky Derby, which will be broadcast live over the PA system, on closed circuit TV, and on the Jumbotrons at 6:34 p.m. Visit vagoldcup.com for information how to place your bets.
If you’re new to racing over fences and not sure about what to wear or how to pack a tailgate, keep it simple, neat and clean – country casual and dressy both work fine. Comfortable shoes and boots for walking (stiletto heels sink into the ground). Layers are a great idea, because the races run rain or shine, and the temps might be hot or cold. Be prepared: bring raingear, an umbrella or two, and fleeces. For al fresco picnics, especially tailgates at the races, plastic cups or plastic stemware are best for all bevies. Edibles are your call: fried chicken and other finger foods, crudités, dips, chips, cheese and crackers, etc.
For more information about point-to-points in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Valley: www.centralentryoffice.com
For more information about sanctioned steeplechasing, which continues until the final spring meet on May 28 in Maryland: www.nationalsteeplechase.com