Virginia Gold Cup

The Virginia Gold Cup horse races at Great Meadow 

The International Gold Cup, one of the largest steeplechase events in the U.S., returns to Great Meadow in Warrenton on Saturday, Oct. 23, and attendees are being welcomed back for the first time since 2019.

Gates are slated to open at 10 a.m., with the first race held at 12:30 p.m. Only group packages will be sold; no individual tickets will be available. Last year, the event was held without spectators due to COVID, being live-streamed.

“While the event will be live-streamed again this fall, there is nothing as breathtaking as being there in person,” said Dr. William Allison, chairman of the Virginia Gold Cup Association that oversees both the spring and fall events. “In person, you can hear the hoofbeats and see the horses and jockeys as well as the spectacular fall foliage around the area.”

As with the spring Virginia Gold Cup races, rail spaces will be spread out.

Those attending must purchase a rail spot that comes with 10 tickets (10 wristbands, one reserved tailgate car pass and two general-admission car passes). The cost is $895 for a space along the racecourse fence and $795 for rail spaces one row back from the rail in either north or south areas.

A limited number of spaces are available on Members Hill for $795. Group and corporate tents are also available on Members Hill.

Tailgate packages are available, and purchases can only be made by calling (540) 347-2612.

The pandemic has severely financially impacted the equine industry in Virginia, which brings in more than $2 billion annually in economic development to the commonwealth. A pre-COVID report noted that there are more than 183,000 horses in the state that provide approximately 38,874 jobs. It also stated that there are a million Virginia households, or about one-third of the total, that contain horse enthusiasts.

“It’s important to run these races so that we can continue to help out the equine industry,” Allison said. “So many jockeys, trainers and industry employees are dependent on these races and have been training all year for them.”

The 2021 International Gold Cup Races are presented by Brown Advisory, the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, Virginia Equine Alliance and the Virginia Breeders Fund.

For information, see the Website at

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