Rain showers didn’t stop thousands of guests from attending the 93rd annual Virginia Gold Cup races at Great Meadow, The Plains, Va. on Saturday, May 5, 2018.
In Virginia horse country Virginia Gold Cup marks the beginning of Spring with the spectators wearing a kaleidoscopic array of fine apparel. Women were seen in linen and lace Spring dresses paired with lovely, in some cases lavish, hats adorned with bows, feathers, flowers–and more.
Hats were sported by many of the men, too, along with colorful attire, including madras sportscoats and seersucker suits, oftentimes accentuated by a bowtie or ascot.
Matching the crowd’s attire were elegant tailgate picnics with themed decorations, flowers, special cuisine, and equestrian-inspired drinks, oftentimes champagne or Mint Julep–Gold Cup’s official beverage.
Many a stuffed fox could be seen embellishing the table tops, some toting a champagne glass, rifle or cigar.
Special time-honored activities at Gold Cup included a tailgate contest, Jack Terrier races—and the beloved hat competition.
Eight horse races are held at the yearly steeplechase event, with the spotlight on the 5th race, the Virginia Gold Cup. With a purse of $100,000, the horses raced about four miles over timber fences.
Zanclus, a Fauquier County, Va. bred horse, won the Virginia Gold Cup race with jockey Kieran Norris in the saddle. Second place in the race was also clinched by a local Virginia horse, Le Chevalier, ridden by Jack Doyle. Complete race charts for all eight races can be seen here.
Next up at Great Meadow will be Twilight Polo, held on Saturday nights May 19th through September 15th (excluding July 7th).
Mark your calendars and get a jump on planning your wardrobes! International Gold Cup will be held at Great Meadow on Saturday, October 28th.