Scenes From The Virginia Gold Cup Races At Great Meadow

The 96th running of the Virginia Gold Cup Races took place May 29th at Great Meadow Racecourse in The Plains and it was great to see fans back at the venue after back-to-back events in 2020 without spectators due to the Covid pandemic. Tailgating socials were set up all around the rail and perimeter areas of the massive racing surface. Nine races were held — seven over hurdles and two over timber — and $230,000 in purse monies was distributed.

A pair of $50,000 races co-headlined — the Gold Cup itself, won by 11-year-old Tiznow gelding, Shoodic, and the David Semmes Memorial (Gr. 3) which was won by Irish-bred Galway Kid.

Here are some pictures from Gold Cup Day. After morning rain, clouds and unseasonably cool weather prevailed until the last race when rain returned.

The International Gold Cup is up next on Saturday October 23.

Drizzle persisted on Gold Cup morning before gates opened.
Riders double check the challenging course layout of the 3-mile Steeplethon and the 4-mile Gold Cup.
The St. Andrews’s Society Pipes & Drums provided entertainment before and during the afternoon races.
The National Anthem was performed by Bitsy Watson, who has sung at the Kentucky Derby and several Inaugural Balls for various Presidents of the U.S.
Socially distanced rail side tailgate spots were set up around the entire course.
Fans enjoyed returning to Great Meadow to enjoy festivities for the first time since the 2019 International Gold Cup.
Even though private VIP tents were not part of the layout this spring at Member’s Hill, a vendors row was created there to take its place.
Popular steeplechase race caller Will O’Keefe was back behind the microphone for the day’s nine race card.
#7 Invocation navigates through splashing water while trailing in the Steeplethon. The 8-year-old French-bred went on to finish second behind Duc de Meran.
Rider Skylar McKenna was all smiles after winning the Apprentice Rider Hurdle aboard Irvin Naylor’s Mighty Mark.
#7 Schoodic, who won the Gold Cup, tackles a timber fence early on in the four mile race. Hadden Frost rode the winner for trainer Jack Fisher and owner Mrs. John R.S. Fisher.
#4 My Afleet watches his Steeplethon competitors school through a water obstacle before the race. He chose to stay dry though until the actual race.
Rider Thomas Garner after capturing the Virginia Equine Alliance Maiden Hurdle with Perfect Tapatino, his first of three wins on the day. He also scored aboard The Mean Queen and Makkadangdang.
Steeplechase owner Irvin Naylor celebrates with family members after his Duc de Meran captured the Steeplethon.
Ratings Handicap Hurdle winner Junonia and jockey Harrison Beswick on the way to get their picture taken.
#4 Galway Kid wins the David Semmes Memorial with Bernard Dalton up. The winner is trained by Keri Brion for the Hudson River Farms.
#8 Renegade River prepares to tackle a timber fence in the Gold Cup while #2 Mystic Strike, minus his rider, opts to steer clear.
A lone bagpiper practices before his group’s performance.
Gold Cup winner Schoodic poses for a photo before leaving the track.