All of the inside scoop on Virginia's biggest day of Steeplechase racing -- the Virginia Gold Cup. Hey, 50,000 of your closest friends can't be wrong! Do you have your tickets yet?

Friday, October 17, 2008


Nine horses are scheduled to go to post in tomorrow's sixth race the $50,000 International Gold Cup.


The field includes to the past two winners of the big race in the spring - The Virginia Gold Cup - Salmo (pictured - yellow cap) and Bubble Economy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Unlike those in Presidential politics, some questions are easy to answer.

Are you going to the Fall Gold Cup Saturday?

Is the weather going to be great?

Are you gonna have fun?


Friday, October 10, 2008


Do your part to jumpstart this economy.

1) BUY your tickets for the International Gold Cup
2) HIRE the best caterer you can find.
3) DON'T scrimp on quality libations.
4) HIRE somebody to drive you home.

There, that was easy.

You will have a great day and the ENTIRE GLOBAL ECONOMY will be better off for your efforts (read that "fun.")

What are you waiting for?

Hey, if AIG can afford English Premiere Soccer League team Manchester United and a $400,000 post bailout spa retreat, you can surely afford a wonderful Saturday in the country.

If nothing else, it will take you mind off the stock market!


It's not unusual for horses trying to win the International Gold Cup to win the Chronicle Cup at Middleburg prior to the timber staple at Great Meadow.

It wouldn't be all that unusual if a horse own by publisher Arthur W. (Nick) Arundel to run, and win, the International Gold Cup.

It wouldn't be completely out of the question for Monte Bianco to be both of those things.

Last weekend, Arundel's Monte Bianco, who has the Italian nom de plume for a Alp, won the Chronicle Cup and now looks like one of the best timber horses around.

According to Steeplechase Times: To say 2007 was a rough year for Monte Bianco would be like saying Elvis Presley was mildly popular. The Irish-bred son of King Of Kings made it to the races twice last year, pulling up in a Charlotte allowance timber in April before falling in the Mason Houghland at Nashville a month later.

Those efforts were sandwiched between a fall at Marlborough Point-to-Point that started his season and another in a summer schooling session that ended it. Trainer Jack Fisher summed up his feelings succinctly: “I had had it with him.”

The trainer’s tone has changed dramatically in 2008. Monte Bianco took the Radnor Hunt Cup in May and thrust himself into the race for the timber title with an authoritative 3 1/4-length victory in the $35,000 National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup Oct. 4 at the Virginia Fall Races at Glenwood Park.

What a difference a year makes.

Elvis would be so proud.


Who won the Virginia Gold Cup last Spring?

C'mon, it wasn't that long ago...

In a strange twist of irony, the winner's name was Bubble Economy (white cap and silks) upset the 84th $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup at the expense of Miles Ahead and Hot Springs.

(Photos by Douglas Lees)

Friday, May 2, 2008


by Brian Nadeau – Steeplechase Times

Four miles and 23 timber fences stand between 10 horses and the biggest payoff on the National Steeplechase Association's timber calendar when the circuit heads to Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains, Va., tomorrow for the 83rd running of the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup.

Any talk of the Virginia Gold Cup and 4-mile timber races begins and ends with Kinross Farm's standout Miles Ahead. Two-time Gold Cup winner, 2005 NSA timber champion and the only horse in the field to have won at this demanding distance, Miles Ahead casts a long shadow over his nine rivals. Trained by Neil Morris, the 11-year-old prepped for the Gold Cup with a second behind Allimac in a 3 1/4-mile allowance at Middleburg, which is news itself, as Miles Ahead tasted defeat for the first time after winning his initial eight timber starts. Hardly dismayed, Morris looks forward to Saturday's race.

Though he missed last year's running, Miles Ahead won the race in 2005 and 2006, and is back in 2008 "for a shot at the big money." As an 8-year-old, Miles Ahead prepped in a Middleburg allowance and then made his timber stakes debut in the 2005 Gold Cup, rallying late for a half-length score. He used the same path in 2006, when his 22-length triumph in the Gold Cup was a performance for the ages.

After more than 17 months on the sidelines Miles Ahead returned last fall for an easy score in the Genesee Valley Hunt Cup. Chris Read, aboard for both Gold Cup victories, has the return call. All starters will carry 165 pounds.

Though Miles Ahead is the horse to beat, contention runs deep in the Gold Cup. Irv Naylor's Hot Springs (Willie Dowling to ride) and Brigadoon Stable's Erin Go Bragh (Paddy Young) continue their rivalry that peaked in the My Lady's Manor April 12.

Desmond Fogarty conditioned Allimac to upset Miles Ahead at Middleburg, and he'll try to turn the trick again with Hot Springs, who finished second by a head to Erin Go Bragh in the Manor but was awarded the victory after Erin Go Bragh was disqualified for interfering with Hot Springs at the last.

Bob Kinsley's Incomplete (James Slater) enters light on experience but long on talent for trainer Ann Stewart. The 7-year-old is perfect in two starts over timber, having won an allowance at Grand National in 2007 and again earlier this season. Incomplete gets tested for class on Saturday but enters as a true wild card who could prove to be a fresh face in the division.

Champion trainer Jack Fisher will send out two in the Gold Cup, Arcadia Stable's Bubble Economy (Chip Miller), the 2004 timber champion, and Arthur Arundel's Monte Bianco (Xavier Aizpuru).

Bubble Economy chased Hot Springs and Erin Go Bragh home when third in the My Lady's Manor and is one of only three horses in the field to try 4 miles. Monte Bianco flies the flag for Great Meadow course founder "Nick" Arundel and steps up after taking his seasonal debut at Camden by 13 1/2 lengths.

Entries for the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup (with jockey, owner and trainer):
1. Straight Gin (Calvin McCormack, Whitewood Stable, Richard Valentine).
2. Incomplete (James Slater, Robert Kinsley, Ann Stewart).
3. Miles Ahead (Chris Read, Kinross Farm, Neil Morris).
4. King Lear (Jeff Murphy, Mrs. Harry Russell, Joe Davies).
5. Hot Springs (Willie Dowling, Irv Naylor, Desmond Fogarty).
6. Erin Go Bragh (Paddy Young, Brigadoon Stable, Doug Fout).
7. Monte Bianco (Xavier Aizpuru, Arthur Arundel, Jack Fisher)
8. Bubble Economy (Chip Miller, Arcadia Stable, Jack Fisher)
9. J. Alfred Prufrock (Conrad Somers, Conrad Somers Conrad Somers).
10. Move West (Jody Petty, Augustin Stable, Sanna Hendriks).

(Top: Miles Ahead (l) in beige and blue silks, bottom Erin Go Bragh (l) and Hot Springs (c).)

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Maybe he can win that other little race they run down in the Commonwealth of Kentucky on Friday. That would be the Kentucky Derby which this year will once again feature a full field of 20 horses.

There are lots of familar faces including Michael Matz who trained ill-fated Barbaro, Todd Pletcher who has won every race under the sun except the most exciting two minutes in sport, Barclay Tagg who pulled the big yellow school bus across the wire with Funny Cide and wiley cajun Calvin Borel who won the race last year with Street Sense.

Big Brown had to overcome the far outside post 12 when he won the Florida Derby five weeks ago at Gulfstream Park. However, on Saturday when he tries to become the first horse in 93 years to win the Kentucky Derby off just three starts, Big Brown will be farther out. In fact, he will be just as far as can be, in post 20! Oddly enough, that's the position co-owner Michael Iavarone and trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. surprisingly selected when post positions were set last night.

Big Brown, who has won his three starts by a combined 29 lengths, was installed as the 3-1 favorite on the morning line set by Mike Battaglia of Churchill Downs. Colonel John, the Santa Anita Derby winner, wound up in post 10. He is the second choice of both Battaglia (4-1) and Watchmaker (5-1).

Pyro, who won the Louisiana Derby before finishing 10th in the Blue Grass Stakes, is the third choice on both lines at 6-1. He landed post 9.

Tune back in tomorrow and we will give you the scoop on the horses entered in Saturday's 83rd Virginia Gold Cup.

(Big Brown photo by AFP/Getty Images/Andy Lyons)

Friday, April 25, 2008


Up front, we all know the Gold Cup can be a big party for many people. Just make sure it isn't too big. If you plan to drink, make sure you have a designated driver. It's something we take very seriously, so be smart and work it out before you get here.

Not sure how to go about it?

Try this top ten list...
10) See if one of Hilary Clinton's advisors is available for hire. Lord knows, she cans one a week and they might be looking for work.
9) Invite a pregnant woman. Buy her a ticket. Buy her husband and some of their friends tickets. Grovel if necessary.
8) Play rock, paper, driver the night before. Cheat if you must.
7) When was the last time your parents dropped you off and picked you up?
6) Tony Stewart has threatened to leave Joe Gibbs' NASCAR team, maybe you can catch a ride with him.
5) Hitch hike with the guy with the Bud Light and the chainsaw…No, even the guy with the Bud Light and the axe thinks that's a bad idea.
4) We don’t ride the bus, you don’t ride the bus, but everybody loves a party bus (scroll down).
3) Carpool, carpool, carpool -- gas is expensive...and it was Earth Day just the other day.
2) Hire somebody -- that ALWAYS works (see #1).
1) Volunteer. Step up to the plate, it’s probably your turn.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


...besides the whole "April showers" thing...

It’s almost May and besides a calendar, how would you now that?

Well, let’s see. It’s been a month since Georgetown got knocked out of the Big Dance by Davidson ending any local teams shot at the National Championship.

The Nationals, basking in the glow of a cool new stadium, went on a season opening three-game winning streak before diving into the tank and last place in the National League East.

Just the other night, D.C. United lost their second straight game to open the season 1-3.

The Wizards who were picked by many in the media to win their opening round series against the Cleveland Cavaliers went momentarily brain-dead and decided to tell several media outlets that LeBron James “is overrated.” King James was not amused torching them for 30 the other night in a 116-86 Cavs’ win. Cleveland lead the series 0-2, and it’s not lookin’ so good for the Wiz.

And last night, the Capitals, who were enjoying a worst to first run, lost the seventh and deciding game of their playoff series to nemesis Philadelphia (again). In overtime (again). Season over.
So with all the local sports teams in the tank or tanking, it MUST BE almost May and time for the biggest and best outdoor picnic/cocktail party in the area…The Virginia Gold Cup.
Come check it out, your horse might lose, but you can’t!

(Photo by Len Redkoles/Getty Images)

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Can you keep a secret? I’ll let you in on a little something.

My usual gig? Foxhunting.

Winter. Cold. Running up and down hills over slippery ground chasing a bunch of howling flea bag mutts that are chasin’ some fox.

Are you kidding me?

To make it worse, they get me up at the crack of dawn, give me a bath…a bath, in the middle of the winter mind you! Drag me off of my farm down the road to some other farm. When it’s over they have something called a hunt breakfast. Bull. Fancy word for cocktail party. Do I get to go? Oh no, trusty steed here gets to hang out in the horse trailer and munch on some hay and wait until the party is over.

Nice…real nice.

Now, this Gold Cup gig? Much, much better. Primo, in fact. It doesn’t start until late morning. It’s warm. Almost always a beautiful day. I get to cruise around with a bunch of my famous racehorse cousins who are running in the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup. That’s serious coin.

Oh, and this knucklehead to my left?

He gets to cruise around on my back and flirt with the pretty girls at all the rail side parking spaces. Nice shades, huh?

This is pretty much how we spend our day. Pretty girls love horses. Little kids get to pet me on the nose, which is way cool. Little girls love horses too. This is a much better gig -- sleep late, hang with the homies, flirt with the chicks, lots of photo ops with the kiddies. An occasional apple, peppermint or carrot.

Quality equine afternoon, thank you very much.

Who’s with me?

Seriously, look at this face. Who couldn’t love this face? Who doesn’t want to PAR-TAY with this mug? Who's with me?

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Should you make the slightest effort, you will see horses at the Gold Cup, but you won't see one of these. But, you may see one of it's relatives.
Here, an Omani woman rides side saddle as she shows off her skills during a show ending the horse racing season at the al-Feleij track in Muscat on April 17, 2008.

And where is Muscat, you ask?

In Oman...I'ts the toe of the boot.

The Arab peninsula is famous for the horses bred by Bedouin Arabs. Over the centuries and through selective breeding the Bedouins developed an Arab horse which was tough and yet beautiful and which today form part of the breeding pedigree of European race horses.

Of course, some of that blood is found in the horses that race at the Gold Cup (Thoroughbreds).

(Photo by Mohammed Mahjoub/AFP/Getty Images)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


OK, for those of you wanting to know something about the actual Gold Cup, listen up. (It’s a good way to impress your date, friends, kids, etc.)

Last weekend, they held the My Lady’s Manor steeplechase in Maryland. It’s a 3 mile timber stakes race that is similar to the Virginia Gold Cup. It has historically been a good tune-up for the Gold Cup, but not a shoe-in precursor since it’s one mile shorter. Last time we were running and jumping over four foot fences, we determined that an extra mile is, in fact, a long way.

So the brown horse on the left, Erin Go Bragh (NZ) (The NZ means he is from New Zealand) won the race by about three feet over the grey horse, Hot Springs. But the refs (we call them stewards) went to the videotape to take a little closer look at some bumping that occurred near the last of the 16 timber fences.

After said film review, the zebras decided that Erin Go Bragh (NZ) went a little bit Erin Go Crooked (MD), thus interfering with Hot Springs and impeding a likely victory by the handsome grey. So unlike other sports you watch, they simply changed the outcome.

Young jockey Darren Nagle said Erin Go Bragh (NZ), "bumped and bulldogged me between the second to last and last fences. My horse lost concentration and didn't jump the last and nearly came down and fell."

Erin’s rider, veteran Paddy Young didn’t see it that way, “It was pretty deceptive," he said of the film. "I think the best horse won. He (Hot Springs) had enough time to get there" through the stretch run.

The officials agreed with Nagle, and Hot Springs was declared the winner.

Look for both horses to run back in the Gold Cup and hopefully there is enough space out at Great Meadow that they can stay out of one another’s way.

Monday, April 14, 2008


People say they go to the Gold Cup and never see a horse.

Those people are exaggerating. They're kind of hard to miss as they go galloping by every 20 minutes.
Although a lot of folks go to the Gold Cup for the party, the picnic, the people watching or just to have a nice day with friends and family, it remains one of the biggest, best and most important horse races in Virginia.

So pay attention (a little, at least).

Without much effort you will realize that it is impossible to keep your eyes off these beautiful animals – the horses, that is.

Check out this scene from London last week. In spite of the best efforts of British beach volleyball Olympic hopefuls, Lucy Boulton, left, and Denise Johns, to distract this group of tourists, only two are watching them play v-ball. The overwhelming majority are focused on the palace, and, of course, the horses.

We really have no explanation...but it happens all the time.

And the exact same thing happens at the Gold Cup. Folks who claim to have no interest in horses or steeplechase racing find themselves mesmerized by the spectacle. Kids find it especially enthralling, and those of you with front row parking spaces have the best spot in the house to see, hear and feel the action.

Yes the ground shakes a bit when they go racing by…

Go ahead, bring your volleyball if you must.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008



No it's not.

It's the Virginia Gold Cup. Do you see Ryan, Randy, Paula or Simon standing around?

We didn't thinks so...and they don't know what they are missing.

But, a former contestant is singing the National Anthem.

Born and raised in Manassas, Virginia, 24 year-old Travis Tucker has been singing and performing for as long as he can remember. Travis has graced a variety of stages. He is best known for his appearance on American Idol Season 4 where Simon Cowell himself described him as “a born performer. ” His captivating performances elevated him to the final 16 contestants.

Since then, Travis has performed multiple times for the Washington Redskins, the University of Virginia, as well as numerous fundraisers and concerts in the Northern Virginia area. Currently, Travis performs with his Soul/Funk band Millennium in the DC metro area. He is also working on his first album Just Live, where he exhibits his silky poetic songwriting style.

Travis is not only an accomplished singer/performer, he has also proven himself as an enchanting motivational speaker. His message of “Living Every Day,” has inspired hundreds of youths across Northern Virginia.

Monday, April 7, 2008


First off, it didn't rain.

Secondly, Comply Or Die produced a gutsy jumping display to win the $1.59 million Grand National at Aintree and hand a first success in the famous steeplechase to jockey Timmy Murphy and trainer David Pipe on Saturday near Liverpool.

The 7-1 well-backed joint favorite triumphed by four lengths from King Johns Castle (20-1), ridden by Paul Carberry, with Snowy Morning (16-1) a further length-and-a-half back in third after the four-and-a-half mile marathon over 30 fences. (Sound familiar?) Forty horses started the race.

Irishman Murphy, 33, was always going well on Comply Or Die and pushed him into the lead at the last of 30 fences. The nine-year-old then readily held off his pursuers to give Murphy his first National win in 12 attempts.

“I can’t believe it yet, it’s the best ride I’ve ever had over these fences,” Murphy told BBC Television.

“I just got into a lovely rhythm and he jumped fantastic."

“You can never rest on your laurels in the National, riding over those fences," said Murphy. "I just concentrated on getting over every single one, I got over the last and then it’s a long way home."

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


The Virginia Gold Cup, held the first Saturday in May year-in and year-out, has been cancelled due to nice weather, a slump in the real estate market and the high cost of gasoline.

April Fools.

It would take a lot more than that to stop Northern Virginia's biggest sporting event and outdoor cocktail party and picnic.

Speaking of somewhat foolish things...We aren't so sure about this dude's hat. Now, mind you, the Virginia Gold Cup is all about hats, but mostly for the women. Guys might keep it simple...

This hat, well...we aren't so sure. Did he steal it from Brittney Spears or is he trying to look like Johathon Penner from Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites?

Who knows, maybe the Chi Chi Rodriguez fedora is going to catch on.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Yep, it's the that time of year again...March Madness...Is your team still in the tourney? If you went to or go to Georgetown, American or George Mason, you're out. If you went to or go to GW, UVA, Maryland or Virginia Tech you never got in the Big Dance. The Wahoos and Hokies went to other tourneys, and now there out too.

So your bracket is probably all you have left...oh, that's not looking so good either? Never fear in a couple of weeks your taxes are due...Argghhh!!

But wait, there's a perfect remedy to all that anxiety -- just two short weeks after Tax Day comes the Virginia Gold Cup where all your March and April madness will be assuaged by a wonderful afternoon in the Virginia countryside. What a perfect way to kick off one of the best month's of the year which is then followed by the best season of the year -- summer. All ahead, full.

We feel better just thinking about it...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Jockeys and horses train in the early hours of March 26, 2008 at Nad al-Sheba club ahead of the Dubai Equestrian World Cup 2008. The Dubai World Cup, held on March 29, is the richest horse race in the world, with prize money totaling $21.25 million.

You know what that is? A lot of CASH.

You know what else it is? Damn INCONVENIENT.

Your aren't going to Dubai, but the Virginia Gold Cup is an easy commute from Washington, DC, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia.

You should go.

(Photo by Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, March 24, 2008


No, better, much better!

The Virginia Gold Cup has partnered up with Lindy Promotions, Inc. to provide bus transportation and a pre-party package from three Metro locations in the D.C. region.

“This year, Lindy Promotions has been exclusively selected to organize The Official Gold Cup Bus Trip,” states Dr. William Allison, Virginia Gold Cup race chairman. Catch a ride to the races on the bus in the morning and eliminate the worry about driving and parking. Buses will depart from three Metro accessible bars in Bethesda (Tommy Joe’s on the Red Line), Arlington (Front Page Arlington on the Orange Line), and D.C. (Regional Food and Drink on the Red Line), and packages will feature pre- and post-bus trip specials.

Each ticket includes round trip bus transportation, admission to the races and reserved bus parking close to the north rail. Ticket price is currently $40 increasing as the race approaches so get your tickets early. Bus tickets to Gold Cup must be booked in advance. To order tickets, visit the Lindy Promotions web site
and click on “Purchase a Seat” or call Lindy Promotions at 301.652.7712.
The Virginia Gold Cup Races takes place on Saturday, May 3 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia. The setting is truly spectacular in the heart of Virginia horse country with the Blue Ridge Mountains serving as the backdrop. Event gates open at 10 am with pre-race entertainment starting at 11 am including terrier races, the Junior Field Master Chase for young riders, and the Blackwater Parachute Team with the National Anthem being sung by former American Idol contestant, Travis Tucker.
The first of six horse races gets underway at 1:30 pm. General admission car passes are $75 in advance, $85 the week of the race (allows entry of car and up to 6 occupants) or buy a bus ticket and let Virginia Gold Cup do the driving.

For more information on the Virginia Gold Cup Races please call 540-347-2612 or visit the web site at

Monday, March 17, 2008


DON’T EVEN TRY TO TELL US…there is no such thing as leprechauns.

Actually, that’s not the point of this picture. Check out the caption straight from Getty Images and we quote:
"Robert 'Chocolate' Thornton celebrates as he rides the horse Katchit (not pictured) into the winners enclosure after winning The Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle during the first day of the Cheltenham Festival in England on March 11, 2008.”
It’s the “(not pictured)” part that got us giggling.

Now we know folks at our Gold Cup don't always no where the horses are, but evidenlty the press over in jolly old England has a bit of trouble keeping tabs on the equines during teh Cheltham Festival which ultimatley hosts the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

(Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, February 18, 2008


It's time to start planning for the 2008 Virginia Gold Cup...

One of the nation’s largest steeplechase races celebrates its 83rd anniversary this year on Saturday, May 3, 2008. Approximately 50,000 people will gather at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia to socialize and watch some of the finest horses in the world compete over the lush green course. Held every year on the first Saturday in May (the same day as the Kentucky Derby), the Virginia Gold Cup enjoys a spectacular setting in the heart of Virginia horse country with the Blue Ridge Mountains serving as the backdrop.

This event has become a long-standing tradition and is attended by national celebrities, local VIPs, Washington, DC politicians as well as visitors from around the world. Characterized by lavish tailgate spreads, sleek thoroughbreds and exciting hoof-pounding competition, steeplechase racing is said to combine the best of fast-action sports with a refined social setting. This is one of the Washington, D.C. region’s largest and oldest outdoor events.

The 83rd Annual Running of the Virginia Gold Cup will take place on Saturday, May 3 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia. Gates open at 10 a.m. with pre-race entertainment starting at 11 a.m. including a Terrier Race Exhibition, the Junior Field Master Chase, and the Blackwater USA Parachute Team. The first of seven horse races, including the Junior Field Master Chase gets underway at 12:15 pm. General admission car passes are $75 in advance, $85 the week of the race (allows entry of car and up to 6 occupants). Sponsorship and hospitality packages are available.

A long-standing Virginia tradition, the Junior Field Master Chase gives young riders a chance to demonstrate their riding skills before large race crowds, an experience especially important to riders who may be planning to make race riding a career.

Great Meadow is located just 45 minutes west of Washington, DC and is in close proximity to Dulles International Airport. To get there from Washington, DC, take I-66 west to The Plains exit. Turn left at the end of the ramp onto The Plains Road (Route 245 south), follow signs to Great Meadow which will be on your left. Call 540-347-2612 for additional information or visit the web site at

The Virginia Gold Cup Races are presented by Galen Capital Corporation with race sponsorship support from Blackwater USA, Infinitive, Novo Nordisk and Creighton Farms. Race day activities are underwritten by The Virginia Lottery, Watson Wyatt Worldwide, NTRC, Wildblue Communications, Nelson Cable, Farm and Ranch Magazine, and Capital Party Rental. Official providers of the Virginia Gold Cup Races are Grand Cuisine, Bonterra Wines, Coca-Cola, Dogtopia, Finlandia Vodka, Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey, Miller Brewing Co., and Woodford Reserve Bourbon.