Scenes from the 97th Running of the Virginia Gold Cup

The 97th running of the Virginia Gold Cup races took place May 7th at Great Meadow in The Plains with a card of six steeplechase races and one flat race. Featured event was the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup, won by 2019 champion Andi’Amu — a 12-year-old gelding making his 41st career start. The finish, after four miles of competition, brought loud cheers from tailgating fans trackside.

Both spectators and wagering returned, though Mother Nature chose not to cooperate. Rain, unseasonably cool temperatures and a breeze made the afternoon feel more like a late fall football tailgating session instead of an expected pleasant May outing. Athletes — both human and equine — and thousands of fans made the best of it and had memorable an enjoyable day.

Here are some Gold Cup scenes to capture the spirit of the day:

The stewards stand, located at the finish line, is filled with officials and horsemen.

Two appropriately dressed young fans enjoy the action railside.
The betting tent on Members Hill saw lots of wagering activity.
Bodes Well begins his jump in the Steeplethon.
Steeplethon winner Bodes Well navigates a water hazard during the 3 miles race (Douglas Lees photo).
Despite the rain, fancy hats were aplenty.
Early morning on Gold Cup Day before fans arrived.
Rider Thomas Garner and trainer Leslie Young celebrate with winner Redicean in the David Semmes Memorial Stakes.
Media members prepare to take pictures of the next race out on the wet course. Wonder if photographer #21 knew his number was going to win the Kentucky Derby at odds of 81-1??!!
Howyabud gets his picture taken for winning the $40,000 allowance hurdle with Parker Hendriks up.
A bugler ushered horses on to the track with the “Call to Post” each race.
Rider Parker Hendriks won three races on Saturday’s card (Douglas Lees photo).
A muddy scene as rain continued throughout the entire afternoon.
The VEA, VHBPA & VTA $50,000 flat stakes closed out the day’s festivities. SA’Ad (far right) won the finale (Douglas Lees photo)
A little damp weather did not stop thousands of fans from enjoying the God Cup event.
Flying over timber in the 4-mile Gold Cup with Storm team in front and eventual winner Andi’Amu (#1) in second (Douglas Lees photo).