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Local equine sport lovers take in the Colonial Cup

Special to the Salisbury Post by Darrell Blackwelder

A few weeks ago, the small historic town of Camden, South Carolina swelled from 7,000 to over 30,000 horse lovers to a day of exciting steeplechase horse racing.  The Carolina and Colonial Cup Steeplechase is a top sporting event as well as an anticipated social event. High fashion and luxury tailgating is a major highlight for many the event which is held at Springdale Race Course. Thousands of college students have their own section known as “College Park” at the track.

Photo by Darrell Blackwelder.
Steeplechase horses approaching a jump of shrubs along the course.

A steeplechase is a cross country horse race that implements barriers of fences or water along a grass pathway. Originating in Ireland in the 18th century, owners of thoroughbred bred horses would compete with friends and neighbors by racing their horse cross country from church steeple to church steeple; hence a “steeplechase”. This year’s race featured 6 horse races of varying lengths and difficulty from a short sprint race to a course of various jumps that seemed to go for miles. Many of the jockeys participating in the events were from Great Britain and Ireland. The winner of the prestigious Colonial Cup hailed from Ireland to collect a $150,000 purse. The Colonial and Carolina Cup Steeplechase is held each spring in late March or early April. Camden is about a two-hour drive from Salisbury making the event very accessible for those that love equine sports.

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