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Washington’s Premier Steeplechase Races Return on May 4

Washington’s Premier Steeplechase Races Return on May 4

Virginia Gold Cup expects large hats, large tailgates, and large crowds.

THE PLAINS, VA — Virginia Gold Cup, started in 1922, has become one of the Washington, D.C., region’s largest outdoor events — and certainly the most beautiful. Its rolling hills and magnificent scenery in the heart of Virginia horse country makes this the perfect setting for gathering, socializing, and networking over lavish tailgates and elaborate tented parties. At the same time, enjoy horses running in eight races with pari-mutuel wagering — one of Virginia’s sanctioned pari-mutuel race events.

Back this year are the ever-popular Jack Russell terrier races, where the little dogs race and jump over obstacles to get to a lure. Their antics delight the crowds, especially children.

The gates open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 4. The Jack Russell terrier races begin at 11 a.m., the tailgate contest begins at noon, and the first horse race is at 1 p.m. Tickets are available through There will also be a 1922 VIP tent where ticket buyers can watch the races and enjoy food and drink all day. To enter the tailgate competition, send your name, contact information, and tailgate spot number to by 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 2.

General admission is $50 per person for a wristband and $100 per vehicle. Parking passes and wristbands may be purchased online until 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. Advance purchase of tickets is recommended.

To get there from Washington, D.C., take I-66 West to Exit 31 (Rte. 245 South) and follow signs to Great Meadow. For more detailed ticket information, go to

Photo by Liz Callar.

Posted on: April 26, 2024

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