All Gold Cup International Cup Races to be Virginia-bred Preferred

For the first time at the fall International Gold Cup Races this year, all races will be Virginia-bred-preferred in order to encourage Virginia-bred ownership. The change grew out of the success of the Old Dominion Turf Championship and is part of the Gold Cup’s continuing efforts to promote both attendance and participation.

“We wanted to rebuild participation by Virginians in horse racing,” said Gold Cup consultant Mike Pearson. “Say a person had a steeplechase horse, you wouldn’t necessarily know you were going to get in at the Gold Cup Races. This way the owner of a Virginia-bred can plan to enter his horse in Gold Cup and know he has first preference to participate and make the corresponding invitations and party plans for a day at the races.”

Pearson cited the success of the Old Dominion Turf Championship as part of the driving impetus behind the change. The Old Dominion Turf Championship is a series of races held at the Foxfield Fall Races, the Virginia Fall Races and the International Gold Cup Races in which Virginia-bred or Virginia-sired horses are awarded points in lead-up races. Leaders are preferred in the Championship race, held at the International Gold Cup Races and run for a $15,000 purse.

“It’s a terrific opportunity for Virginia-breds to perform in front of a home audience,” Pearson said. “We looked at the value of that and that’s one of the reasons that the Gold Cup has gone to Virginia-bred-preferred in all races.”

“We want to encourage people to be a part of the day as participants in the mutual system, but also as participants in the racing and by having a Virginia-bred, we can almost guarantee that,” Pearson said.