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, 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.