The Virginia Gold Cup horse-racing event normally held the first Saturday in May at Great Meadow in Fauquier County will be run on Saturday, June 27, without spectators.
The Gold Cup is one of the nation's largest steeplechase events and usually draws thousands of spectators to tailgate, show off fancy hats and bet on the races. It has been run the same day as the Kentucky Derby for the past 94 years.
The June 27 races will be held with only participants and essential personnel on the grounds but will be livestreamed and available at no cost.
“We wanted to provide a venue for the steeplechase/racing industry to be able to get horses out and receive some financial support in the form of purse money,” said Dr. William Allison, chairman of the Virginia Gold Cup Association. “Jockeys and trainers have continued training their horses all spring without having anywhere to run them. This will provide a great opportunity.”
A 2018-19 report by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported that the horse industry brings more than $2 billion annually in economic development to the state. The report noted that there are more than 183,643 horses in the state that provide approximately 38,874 jobs. “The viability of the horse industry is an important component for the Commonwealth’s economy,” Allison added.
The Virginia Gold Cup is encouraing race fans to tune in and celebrate with appropriate socially-distanced Gold Cup watch parties Viewers can tune in to http://nsa.network.video/ to livestream the event on June 27 at 12:30 p.m.
“We’ve worked closely with the National Steeplechase Association and Virginia Equine Alliance to find a way to run the Virginia Gold Cup that follows the current restrictions, but helps support the struggling horse industry in Virginia,” Allison said. “It will be a bittersweet day without our loyal fans in attendance, but ultimately being able to host race day is a victory for us. We are hopeful racegoers will tune into the livestream.”