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Here’s Your 82nd International Gold Cup Fact Sheet

WARRENTON, VA – One of the country’s largest steeplechase and social event returns on Saturday, October 26 with the 82nd running of the International Gold Cup.  The event will feature a fun day of parties and racing in beautiful Virginia horse country with six races. It takes place at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia (5089 Old Tavern Rd., The Plains, Va. 20198). Just an hour’s drive west from downtown Washington, D.C.

How it Got Started

The first International Gold Cup was held in 1930 at Grasslands Downs, Tennessee where the King of Spain provided a spectacularly beautiful gold trophy.  Although the race meet moved to Virginia in 1984, winners of the International Gold Cup are still awarded the same magnificent trophy.

“The International Gold Cup has a large annual following,” said Dr. William Allison, president of the Virginia Gold Cup Association, the organization that puts on the day of racing. “Our fall event is always blessed with spectacular scenery with an amazing display of fall colors.”

The Facts

Gates open at 10 a.m. with pre-race entertainment and the first race gets underway at noon.  The event also features pari-mutuel wagering. “Bring cash for wagering,” said Allison.

For those who love horses, it’s a wonderful day watching sleek thoroughbreds and jockeys in colorful silks fly around a course of challenging timber and brush jumps and a water obstacle.  For those who are not interested in the horses, or the pari-mutuel wagering, the International Gold Cup is a fantastic social event with area celebrities and VIPs, lavish tailgates, tent parties, shopping and great people watching.  The event draws approximately 45,000 attendees.

Tickets and Parking

General Admission parking passes are $50 each.  A parking pass allows a vehicle and up to four guests into parking. All of those entering the event grounds under General Admission and going to the north or south areas, must each have a wrist band. Wrist bands are $25 per person. No charge for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult.  Members Hill badges are $55 each (no charge for children 12 and under on Member’s Hill).

Car passes and wrist bands may be purchased online (, as well as at area Harris Teeter stores (VIC card members receive a 20% discount.)  For information contact the Virginia Gold Cup Association at 540-347-1215 or visit the web.  Advance purchase of tickets is recommended.  Children 12 years of age and under are admitted free with an adult.  To get there from Washington, D.C. take I-66 west to Exit 31 (Route 245 south), and follow signs into Great Meadow, only 50 minutes from Washington, D.C.

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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