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?

Thursday, March 19, 2009


This is Orison (right). He may run in the Gold Cup. If you can retain some information about him, you will impress your friends/date/family like crazy.

Orison has been running and jumping for a little while now. He has won over $200,000 in his career which includes a win in the $75,000 Carolina Cup Gr. 2 down in Camden, South Carolina.

Most of the money he has won has been over “hurdles.” Those are the big green jumps. Now, Orison is making the switch to timber – those are the ones that look like post and rail fences made out of telephone poles.

Orison’s owner, Ernie Oare, has had his eye on the Gold Cup for many years. In his younger days, Oare used to ride steeplechase horses and his best timber horse, Allen B.J., had a shot to win the Gold Cup with jockey Oare in the saddle.

Unfortunately, the girth broke during the race. The girth is the big belt looking strap that keeps the saddle on and without it you can’t run four miles and jump over a bunch of big fences unless you have the balance of Shannon Miller or Mary Lou Retton. Even then, it would be next to impossible. Kind of like riding a motorcycle on water.

Since then, Oare and his wife Betty, have been looking for the right horse to win the Gold Cup. Could Orison be the one?

Racing for the Oare’s EMO Stables in their distinctive blue, red and gold silks, Orison won the Novice Timber race at Casanova Point-to-Point back in February. Remember February? It was cold.

Then last weekend, Orison won the The Spring Valley timber race over three miles at the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point.

There is no official word on whether or not trainer Doug Fout is pointing Orison to the Virginia Gold Cup in May, but it sure looks that way…

(Photos by Douglas Lees)


First off, in case nobody has told you, the economic recovery started in Warrenton, Virginia (the town the Virginia Gold Cup office calls home) at noon on St. Patrick’s day.

Oddly enough, the much anticipated correction had little to do with more mortgage applications or more new housing starts announced earlier that morning.

In addition, it had little to do with stimulus plan, the banking bailout or AIG bonuses. And, in spite of the event in question happening on March 17th, it had nothing to do with Ireland, Harp or Guiness.

No, the world wide economic recovery started in Warrenton, Virginia just at the horrific swoon had started just a few miles from here last October.

You see, last October in the midst of a media saturated presidential campaign, the economy leapt off a cliff. This can be directly attributed to a horse named Bubble Economy. Trust us, this is exactly what went down.

Bubble Economy won the 71st running of the International Gold Cup at Great Meadow just up the road from Warrenton in The Plains, VA. The International Gold Cup is the little sister and fall version of the Virginia Gold Cup which happens on the first Saturday in May.

So when Bubble Economy won the fall race, the Treasury Department should have been paying attention. You see, Bubble Economy had also won the 83rd running of the $100,000 Virginia Gold Cup. You can’t say we didn’t warn you…Wasn’t anybody paying attention?

In the spring, Bubble Economy defeated, among others, a horse named Miles Ahead. Imagine where we would be had he won the biggest steeplechase race here in the Commonwealth. Well…how about…miles ahead of where we are now, which would be nice.

In the fall, Mr. Bubble defeated, among others, A Fine Story…Hmmm.

So now we know. It’s all Bubble Economy’s fault. What we need now is back-to-back victories in the two Gold Cups by a horse named Booming Economy.

In the meantime, we are on the road to a nice slow and steady recovery, and it all got started on St. Patrick’s day with…drum roll, please…ice cream.

Yes, we said ice cream. While a horse named Bubble Economy messed up the whole deal a little treat called ice cream put it all back on the right track.

Warrenton, like many other small towns, has a soft ice cream stand – The Carousel. The Carousel usually opens in April and closes in early November. Seems the Carousel folks are clever enough to have a similar stand down in sunny Florida.

So for reasons unknown to the Gold Cup, the Carousel decided to open two weeks early to a standing room only crowd lined up into the parking lot.

You might be thinking ‘how can that be a major economic indicator?’

Trust us, it is. It’s just what we need to get us all off this bubble economy.

You know, what else will help? If our nation of consumers who drive our economy would open their wallets/purses and buy some stuff.

Why not start with tickets to the best horse race/party in Virginia – the Virginia Gold Cup?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Steeplechase racing is big in Great Britain. No race meet is any bigger or more famous than the four day Cheltenham Festival held in England in March. March, as in right now…it concludes on Friday.

Now, we know this because we’ve been to similar events on the Emerald Isle, so we know that both the English and Irish take their jump racing rather seriously.

Not only do they race some wonderful horses, but they approach these events with a “high degree of social enthusiasm,” if you know what we mean.
People take off work in the middle of the week, get all dressed up and go to the races. They socialize. They party. And, since it’s legal, they bet. They do all of this with, as previously stated, “enthusiasm.”

In fact, they are so good at this, that the best steeplechase races in America look to emulate what transpires across the Grand Old Pond. Take a look at the photos.

Lots of racegoers. Beautiful women. Fancy clothes. Crazy hats. Everybody having fun.

But, what’s missing. What will you see at the Virginia Gold Cup – maybe 50,000 times that you will only see a few times at Cheltenham?


Steeplechase junkies?


Well, we will tell you exactly what you won’t see: SUNGLASSES.

That’s correct – sunglasses. You won’t see sunglasses very often because the only people wearing them on a typical dark cloudy English day will be movie stars and race fans with hangovers.

You think it’s dismal in Seattle, spend a March in England...

Now, fast forward to May and imagine all of this WITH sunglasses, SUNSHINE and nice Virginia WARM spring weather.

(Photos by Adrian Dennis and Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


So, we all just have to improvise – just like these guys.

You know, be creative – work the angles.

Or you could just have a few less lattes or a little less sushi and set aside a few coins for tickets to the Virginia Gold Cup.

Or skip a Wizards game...who wants to see Georgetown play in the N.I.T.? Those cool new shoes -- put 'em down. Gold Cup.

Bring your friends. It’s May 2nd at Great Meadows in The Plains.

The weather promises to be great, and the best parties always seems to happen when the world is a little out of whack. So the planets seem to be aligning for a great time…

Get your tix today!