The Virginia Gold Cup is one of the nation’s largest steeplechase races featuring some of the finest horses in the world competing over hurdles, timber and on the flat. The event is held every year on the first Saturday in May (the same day as the Kentucky Derby) and enjoys a spectacular setting in the heart of Virginia horse country with the Blue Ridge Mountains serving as the backdrop. The Virginia Gold Cup has been held in Fauquier County since 1922 and is attended by national celebrities, local VIPs, Washington, DC politicians as well as visitors from around the world.
This is one of the Washington, DC region’s largest and oldest outdoor events. Race day activities include terrier races, shopping, hat contests, tailgate contests, and some of the best steeplechase racing you'll find anywhere.
Date and Times
May 5, 2018
10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Races are held rain or shine.
11:30 a.m. - Terrier Race Exhibition
12:15 p.m. - Opening Ceremony (National Anthem and Color Guard)
1:30 p.m. Races begin
Getting to the VA Gold Cup
The event is held at Great Meadow, 5089 Old Tavern Road, The Plains, Virginia
Great Meadow serves as the permanent home for the Virginia Gold Cup and is located just 45 minutes west of Washington, DC. From Washington, DC, take I-66 west to The Plains exit. Turn left at the end of the ramp onto The Plains Road (Route 245 south), follow signs to Great Meadow which will be on your left. The park is located about an hour west of Washington DC and is not accessible by public transportation.
There is a hosted bus trip by Lindy Promotions.
General admission car passes are around $85 (allows entry of car and up to 6 occupants). Tickets are available at area Harris Teeter stores and discounted with a Harris Teeter VIC card. Children 12 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult.
A parking pass serves as your "ticket" to the races.
- Jack Russell Terrier Races are a fun tradition that kick off the day
- Junior Field Master Chase which gives young riders a chance to demonstrate their riding skills before large race crowds
- A tailgate competition will determine the day’s most gracious hosts
- Hat competition will reveal the day’s most fashionable participants
Tailgating is a popular activity at the Virginia Gold Cup. Reserved tailgating spots are available on the Member’s Hill, North Rail, and South Rail. When you reserve a tailgate spot you are eligible to enter the tailgate competition which is judged by a panel of local food and TV personalities.
Race Betting Options
Win: The horse must finish first
Place: The horse must finish first or second
(you collect the amount for a second)
Show: The horse must finish first, second or third
(you collect the amount for third)
Exacta: You must pick the horses that finish first AND second in exact order
Trifecta: You must pick the horses that finish first, second AND third in exact order