The National Steeplechase Association’s fall championship season will feature two Grade 1 races, the $250,000 Grand National and the $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup, for horses vying for the year’s Eclipse Award. In all, the fall season will feature 15 racing dates and purses exceeding $1.4-million. Rejoining the schedule of National Steeplechase Association-sanctioned race meets is the Charleston Cup, to be run Nov. 13 at the Stono Ferry Racecourse in Hollywood, S.C.
With titles up for grabs in all divisions, the fall season will determine the individual champions and ultimately the Eclipse Award winner. The two races most likely to play a role in determining the national champion are the $250,000 Grand National at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 22, and the season-ending $100,000 Marion duPont Scott Colonial Cup at Camden, S.C., on Nov. 19.
Colonial Downs in Virginia kicks off the fall season on Sunday, Sept. 18, with two races, and the action then moves to Maryland for the Shawan Downs races on Sept. 24. The circuit returns to Virginia for the Foxfield Fall meet in Charlottesville the following day, the two-day Virginia Fall meet in Middleburg the next weekend, and the Morven Park meet in Leesburg on Oct. 8. The Genesee Valley meet in western New York also will be staged on Oct. 8.
Timber racing will be in the spotlight on Oct. 15 at the International Gold Cup meet at Great Meadow Race Course in The Plains, Va. Highlighting the program will be the 74th running of the $50,000 International Gold Cup at 3 1/2 miles over timber fences.
The Far Hills Races the following week will offer the season’s highest purses, totaling $475,000. The historic Grand National at 2 5/8 miles over National Fences will be complemented by the $75,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices, the $50,000 Peapack for fillies and mares, and the $50,000 New Jersey Hunt Cup for timber horses.
Racing action dips into South Carolina on Oct. 29 for the 20th annual Aiken Fall Steeplechase, which will feature the $25,000 Budweiser Holiday Cup.
Both novices–horses in their first years of steeplechase competition–and female runners will be in action Nov. 5 at the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. Headlining the 27th annual Callaway Gardens meet will be the $75,000 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle for horses in the Sport of Kings Novice Hurdle Series. Also featured will be the $30,000 Crown Royal Stakes, a part of the filly-and-mare competition in the Sport of Kings series.
Also scheduled for Nov. 5 is the 77th annual Montpelier Hunt Races, held at the former estate of Marion duPont Scott. The afternoon’s feature will be $40,000 Noel Laing Stakes at 2 1/2 miles over the Montpelier Brush Course. The following afternoon, timber horses will be featured in the $35,000 Pennsylvania Hunt Cup in Unionville, Pa. The Charleston Cup on Sunday, Nov. 13 will feature four NSA-sanctioned races, highlighted by a $25,000 optional allowance.
The steeplechase season concludes Nov. 19 in Camden with the 42nd annual Colonial Cup program, which will offer $190,000 in purses. The $100,000 Colonial Cup Sponsored by Carolina First will be run at 2 3/4 miles over the Colonial Cup Course. The program also will feature the $25,000 Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial for three-year-olds.