(Warrenton, Virginia — 7/30/15)—-The Virginia Equine Alliance (VEA) confirmed yesterday that six days of pari-mutuel horse racing will be contested in the Commonwealth between September 19 and October 24 this Fall.Great Meadow, located in The Plains, will host two of the events. “Virginia Downs Racing” will take place Sunday, September 20th and the 78th edition of the International Gold Cup will be held on Saturday, October 24th.

“Virginia Downs Racing” is a new event that will feature six flat turf races with distances ranging from 1 1/8 to 1 1/2 miles for maidens, allowance horses and starters. Festivities will start at 2 PM and tailgating options/pricing will be announced soon. The Fauquier SPCA is the non-profit partner for “Virginia Downs Racing” and will receive a portion of proceeds from tailgating ticket sales.


The Fall edition of the International Gold Cup will again feature steeplechase races but like the 2015 spring edition, will also include a minimum of three flat races. Sponsor/corporate tent and tailgating tickets can be purchased at www.vagoldcup.com or by calling 540-347-2612. The Gold Cup, which moved to its current location at Great Meadow in 1985, highlights the annual Fall steeplechase season.

“We’re excited to host the inaugural “Virginia Downs Racing” at such an established venue like Great Meadow,” said Debbie Easter, Executive Director of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association and President of the VEA. “For horsemen and fans alike that have attended past Gold Cup events, they will find this new event to be a bit more laid back and contained primarily to the “Members Hill” along the finish line area. Fans should be quite pleased with the affordable tailgating prices once they go on advance sale” added Easter. “We want to make this a day where families and friends can drive their car right in and tailgate from a trackside area, enjoy thoroughbred racing with big fields, and of course wager on those races.”


The other four race days scheduled this Fall will take place at the Oak Ridge Estate in Arrington, Virginia, located off Route 29 between Charlottesville and Lynchburg. Harness races will be contested over Oak Ridge’s one mile dirt oval on back to back weekends —  October 10/11 and 17/18.


Highlight of the meet is the Virginia Breeder’s stakes, which will showcase eight separate divisions of two and three year old pacers and trotters of both sexes. Prep and elimination races will take place the first weekend while championship races in each division will battle on closing Sunday. Over $300,000 (est.) in purse monies will be up for grabs on “Champions” Day.


Pari-mutuel harness racing was previously held at the Oak Ridge Estate in September, 2001 when a nine day campaign was held over three straight weekends. The 200 year old property is most recently known as host site for the popular Lockn’ Music Festival which returns for a four day run September 10-13.


The Virginia Equine Alliance is dedicated to promoting, sustaining and expanding thoroughbred and standardbred racing and breeding in Virginia. The Alliance is comprised of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association (VTA), the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association (VAHBPA), the Virginia Gold Cup, and the Virginia Harness Horsemen’s Association (VHHA). For more information, visit www.virginiaequinealliance.com.