Virginia Steeplechase’s Race to the Gold Cup Kicks Off March 2

The following article appeared in the Culpeper Star-Exponent February 16.

A tried-and-true equestrian tradition leading up to the Virginia Gold Cup, the Annual Rappahannock Hunt Point-to-Point Race will be held Saturday, March 2, in Boston, Virginia.

Gates open at 10 a.m. for the horse races, open to the public, taking place on the grass at The Hill, located at 13257 Durantes Curve, off Sperryville Pike. The first race will start at noon.

“Bring your family, friends, and colleagues,” states a release from race marketing chairwomen Colleen Chaplin and Rachel Vaughan.

This year, Rappahannock Hunt has decided to shake things up by offering hurdle races, weather permitting. This means jockeys will gallop their horses full speed at solid jumps for several laps around the course, according to the release.

Up to eight additional races will be run, including three pony races. The courageous pony jockeys and their ponies are sure to bring a smile to all attendees.

“Thoroughbreds from Virginia and neighboring states will run for the blue ribbon and bragging rights in this premier sporting competition,” the release states.

Rappahannock Hunt Point-to-Point Race is first chance to see thoroughbreds as they run to qualify for the Gold Cup, set for Saturday, May 4, at Great Meadow in The Plains, Fauquier County.

Parking reservations are now being accepted through Feb. 28 on Event Brite Rappahannock Point to Point Races for the March 2 races, featuring all the best tailgating and conversation.

“Out of all locations in the Point to Point series, The Hill has the best view of the course no matter what row you are in,” according to organizers.

General admission tickets are available only on race day at the gate for $10 per person. See or contact for more information. The weather makeup date is March 9. No pets allowed; service animals are permitted.

The Rappahannock Hunt Club, established 1926, is an organization focused on mounted fox hunting in and around the area. Currently, the hunt territory is about 20-by-30 miles, comprised of approximately 384,000 acres in Rappahannock, Culpeper and Madison counties, making it the one of the larger hunting territories in Virginia and in the U.S., according to the release.

The Virginia Gold Cup Races will host tens of thousands of fans on May 4.

The Virginia Gold Cup is of the Washington, D.C. region’s largest and oldest outdoor events. More than 30,000 people come out in their race-day finest to socialize and entertain, according to a release from Gold Cup organizers. Fashion at the event has become popular, with a variety of hats and a fiercely competitive hat contest.

Celebrity judges will decide whose hats are the most impressive in the contest. There is also an equally competitive tailgate contest with prizes for the top three winners, according to the release.

“Steeplechase offers a fast-action sport in a refined social setting and, at the Gold Cup, some of the best horses and jockeys compete over hurdles and timber fences. Held every year on the first Saturday in May, the Virginia Gold Cup enjoys a spectacular setting in the heart of Virginia’s horse country with the Blue Ridge Mountains serving as the backdrop. It is Virginia’s answer to the Kentucky Derby.”

Gates open for the Virginia Gold Cup at 10 a.m. on May 4 with the National Anthem and color guard pre-race at 12:30 p.m. The tailgate contest judging begins at 12:45 p.m. and the first of eight horse races will be underway at 1 p.m. Get tickets at or by calling 540/347-2612.

Also back this year is the popular 1922 VIP Club. Guests will enjoy a private rail side tent with a prime view of the racecourse. Classic regional fare will be served along with open bar and signature cocktails.

VIP guests will enjoy music entertainment, lawn games, raffle prizes, a Gold Cup souvenir, betting booth, private restrooms and more. Following the Gold Cup races, the Kentucky Derby will be shown live on the tent’s closed circuit TV. Cost is $250 per person.

The 2024 Virginia Gold Cup Races are presented by Virginia Equine Alliance, VHBPA and the Virginia Thoroughbred Association.