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?

Sunday, October 18, 2009


By Brian Nadeau/Steeplechase Times

Far Hills visited The Plains, Va. on Saturday in the form of rain, cold and wind. In the midst of it all Jeff Murphy stole the show, winning two of the three jump races on the card.

Subbing for Far-Hills bound Willie Dowling, Murphy took the International Gold Cup for Nick Arundel and Jack Fisher with Seeyouattheevent, who bested Bon Caddo and stablemate Bubble Economy. The 8-year-old son of Event Of The Year took the Gold Cup in 2007 and doubled up on Saturday with a late rush that carried him clear of Uppercut late. The latter was later disqualified for going outside a beacon, which moved Bubble Economy into second and Shady Valley third. Fan favorite Salmo was forced to settle off the quick pace set by Incaseyouraminer and Music To My Ears and never factored while racing wide.

Murphy and Fisher also scored aboard Major Malibu in the $25,000 Steeplethon. The 5-year-old took charge midway through and proved a handy winner over a late-running Swimming River.

Sonic Charm and Diana Gillam took the opener, a $15,000 maiden hurdle, for Rusty Cline and Don Yovanovich.

There were also two open flat races on the card. The $10,000 International World Cup at 1 3/4 miles was won by Slaney Rock (Michelle Penman) while the $25,000 Virginia-bred at 1 1/2 went to Love Colony (Jake Chalfin).

Saturday, October 17, 2009


So you chickened out and decided to forgo the International Gold Cup just because it’s wet and it’s cold…Really?

Well, you’re missing a bunch of fun, but if you want to keep up with what’s going on at Great Meadow as well as at the meet at Far Hills, NJ, you can do so thanks to Universal Sports and the National Steeplechase Association.
To watch the live feed, click here.

If you change your mind, you can still get out to the race course in time for the feature!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Not too long ago, television network Bravo announced a that a spin-off of its hit docu-series franchise The Real Housewives was in development in the influential metropolitan region of Washington, D.C.


Guess what? According to our sources, they have chosen the cast and they plan on filming at Saturday’s International Gold Cup.

“We’re tapping personalities who are among Washington D.C.’s influential players, cultural connoisseurs, fashion sophisticates and philanthropic leaders – the people who rub elbows with the most prominent people in the country and easily move in the city’s diverse political and social circles,” said Frances Berwick, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Bravo Media.

Evidently,some of those “players” will be out at Great Meadow eating, drinking and bickering, or whatever it is that Real Housewives do, while the Bravo team captures it all on tape (or digital).

In addition, Universal Sports will also be at the races producing five hours of coverage in cooperation with the National Steeplechase Association. They will broadcast three races and they can be seen at or on Verizon, Cox or DirectTV. So if you want to actually see the races, you can Tivo them and watch it when you get home. How convienient.

And,finally, just because clothes make the man and t.v. cameras make the event, the Virginia Tourism Corporation will also be at the Gold Cup filming for future promotions.

So look your best, and you might be an “extra” in one of three television productions!

For more scoop from our friend Carol Joynt (of the late great Nathans of Georgetown fame) click here and from the Washington Post click here.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Riders compete during the 119th traditional Velka Pardubicka Steeple-Chase in Pardubice city, East Bohemia, on October 11, 2009.

(Photos by Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Friday, October 9, 2009


So, your sittin’ around trying to figure out what to do on Saturday, October 17th…

The answer is obvious – you go to the International Gold Cup. It’s a great sporting event combined with a great party and a nice day in the country. Enough said.

However, while the gals will relish the opportunity to wear that new dress and hat (we recommend a bringing a sweater and/or sunscreen and a pair of sensible shoes even though we know that latter item is ALWAYS ignored), the guys are always running down the “sporting events” check list before making a decision.

Thankfully, the woeful Redskins and the ongoing drama that is the Jim Zorn Show and As The Vinny Turns, both brought to you by Daniel Snyder’s Red Zebra Productions, do not play on Saturdays.

Baseball is out since both local squad, the Nats and the O’s, didn’t sniff the post-season playoffs. Heck, the Nationals were so bad they misspelled their own name on their jersies, not once, but twice. You can watch the playoff on TV Saturday night since MLB has decided to abandon kids as part of the fan base and to show the overwhelming majority of the games when the next generation of fans is asleep.

College football? Why bother. The only legit DI team in the Commonwealth is Virginia Tech, and they play Georgia Tech the night of the International Gold Cup. No sweat, you can go to the races and easily be home or be at your favorite sports bar for the 6 p.m. kickoff.

Virginia is 1-3 going into this weekend and Maryland is 2-3. Both are likely to lose again on Saturday, and then guess what? On Gold Cup Saturday, they play each other. If you’re a die-hard, you can catch the second half since it starts at 4pm, but, really, why would you?

Two of the best D1AA squads in state, #1 Richmond and #10 JMU face off this weekend, so that’s out of the way come Gold Cup. No. 8 William and Mary has a bye on IGC weekend.

Our one legit professional franchise, the Caps, is home in the Verizon Center, but they don’t skate until 7 p.m.

Thankfully, Agent Zero and the rest of the Wiz/No Wiz have the night off.

So, simply put, the International Gold Cup remains the best party on Saturday’s menu and one of the best local sporting events as well.

So get your tix and we will see you there.

(Go JMU!)

Thursday, October 8, 2009


On Saturday, October 17 at the International Gold Cup the pre-race events will again be highlighted by the now famous Jack Russell Terrier race exhibition. We aren’t gonna get in trouble with the guys that put on the horse races and say this is just a bit more entertaining, but we will say it’s pretty good stuff.

Just wander over to the paddock at noon and check it out. It’s not that far of a walk and besides you will see all sorts of interesting things between where you are and where you will end up. Just another part of the Gold Cup experience!

Remember: noon and paddock.

None of the canine knuckleheads seen here will be competing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Of course, we constantly compare the Gold Cup (both Spring and Fall) to other big spectator sporting events to be sure we offer our patrons a quality experience. So...

Enter Australia.

The Aussies are always good for a little perspective and our friends over at the blog wonderfully titled “Sucks To Be You” hipped us to this item which makes the Gold Cup (which, we will admit, has a handful of useful rules and regs related to attending the event) look like geniuses. And, that is a good thing.

Evidently, there is an auto race down under called the Bathurst 1000. Again, evidently, it is something of a party. So much so that organizers of the event are limiting attendees to one “slab” of beer a day. For those of you who are not familiar with the Aussie lingo, a “slab” equals 24 cans or as we say in these parts A CASE.

No kidding.
However, if you drink the Aussie version of “light beer,” you can have 36 cans! Ahhh...the emergency 12-pack!!!!
According to Reuters, wine lovers must make do with no more than “four liters of cask wine per day” and combinations of the options will not be allowed. Damn.

Here are a few points to ponder. Hey, Aussies, ever heard of water? It’s free if you bring it from home, and if you want to get fancy you can even buy it at a store.
If your na├»ve enough to believe somebody stands out in the show with a wooden bucket on some glacier in who knows where to capture the stuff, you’ll really enjoy the store bought version. On the other hand, maybe the glaciers melting isn’t global warming, but a byproduct of Evian?

If water isn’t your thing, there’s cola. You can drink the regular kind by the gallon and end up weighing 400 lbs and starring on NBC’s hit show Biggest Loser or you can stick with the diet stuff that used to kill lab rats, but we’re pretty sure it’s OK now. At least, it hasn’t killed Diet Coke swilling pro-golfer John Daly – yet.
And then there are those energy drinks that taste like gasoline. That will get you all amped up so you are more likely to pay attention to the race while you quaff 36 Australian Miller Lites! Woo-hoo!

So be glad there are no “tailgate police” at the International Gold Cup. As long as you maintain a level of decorum that is appropriate while not infringing on your neighbor’s right to a good time, you’ll be OK. It’s really pretty easy and it doesn’t involve math so we’ve got that going for us.
We won’t even mention a designated driver because we KNOW that if you plan to party you already HAVE ONE.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Written by Brian Nadeau – Steeplechase Times

With the NHL season getting underway over the weekend it was only fitting that Hat Tricks were the theme at the Virginia Fall Races, where Paddy Young increased his lead in the standings with a trio of wins on Saturday and Jacob Roberts doubled his season total with three wins on Sunday.

Young entered the day with a two-win lead (13-11) over Xavier Aizpuru and Jody Petty in the standings but quickly left little doubt on his fall intentions. He teamed up with main client Doug Fout to sweep the first two on the card, including the featured National Sporting Library Chronicle Cup aboard Maggie Bryant’s Erin Go Bragh. Saving all the ground in the $35,000 timber tilt at 3 1/4 miles, Young engineered the mild upset over Seeyouattheevent and pro-tem leader Patriot's Path.

The win was Erin Go Bragh’s first since taking the New Jersey Hunt Cup last October at Far Hills. In three starts this spring the New Zealand-bred struggled, finishing third of four in a Middleburg allowance, a distant third in the 4-mile Virginia Gold Cup and then fifth, beaten 22 lengths in the Radnor Hunt Cup.

“We kind of played with him in the spring because he came back a bit keen and sketchy in his jumping. We kind of though ‘what’s the best way to ride him?’” At Far Hills he won sitting back off of it so we thought that might be the best way,” Young said. “It helped on Saturday that he was fresh and he jumped so well. He was a bit sharper than earlier in the year and shortening up a little bit helped as well. It’s good to get him back going in the right direction.”

In the opener, an optional claimer, Young guided Eldon Farm’s Chess Board to a neck win over Fogcutter and then made it a perfect 3-for-3 when he guided Ann Stern’s Major Malibu to a maiden timber win for Jack Fisher.

“Coming in I would have been happy to pick up one win, so obviously I didn’t expect this kind of day,” Young said. “Obviously when you get that first one out of the way it makes it a little easier to relax for the remainder of the day. And to win with my only three mounts on the day makes it all the more exciting."

Fisher also scored a training double on the day when he saddled Gil Johnston’s I Know It’s Not (Willie Dowling) to a win in fifth, a maiden-claimer. The 5-year-old son of Yes It’s true won in his fifth start over hurdles.