Steeplechase Season in Dixie

Five of the country’s most prominent races take place right here in the South (the tailgating isn’t bad either)

Illustration: Tim Bower

Carolina Cup
Camden, SC
April 1, 2017

In Camden, attendees dress to impress, so don your race-day finest. For an elevated view and a private luncheon with owners and trainers, score a seat in the Grandstand. Bone up on your race knowledge with a visit to the on-site Steeplechase Museum, the only institution of its kind in the United States.


Maryland Hunt Cup
Reisterstown, MD
April 29, 2017

Among the oldest and most prestigious steeplechases in the South, the Maryland Hunt Cup dates back to 1894, when the Elkridge Fox Hunting Club challenged members of the Green Spring Valley Hounds to a race. Today, enthusiasts set up lavish hilltop tailgates overlooking the four-mile course in Worthington Valley.


Queen’s Cup Steeplechase
Mineral Springs, NC
April 29, 2017

Fifteen thousand spectators turn out for the annual Queen’s Cup, held at the pristine Brooklandwood Racecourse, complete with hedge-lined lawn boxes. Patrons can purchase licenses to reserve tailgating spots for generations to come.


Virginia Gold Cup
The Plains, VA
May 6, 2017

The Gold Cup is held a week after the Maryland Hunt Cup. It is considered the ultimate challenge to compete in both races—only one horse, Billy Barton in 1926, has ever won both in the same year. Look for the younger crowd along the north rail, family-friendly folks near the south rail, and prime viewing at Members Hill.

Iroquois Steeplechase
Nashville, TN
May 13, 2017

Based on the 1930s tradition of Tennessee pasture races, the Iroquois has been held on the same WPA-built course since 1941. Go the extra furlong and reserve one of the new Tents in the Turn, with private railside patios, for unmatched views of the day’s eight races.