VGC Saturday, June 27

How it looked pre-Covid-19.

From the Virginia Gold Cup Association:

WARRENTON, Va., June 15, 2020 – Having been rescheduled from May 2 to running without spectators on June 27, the Virginia Gold Cup is celebrating its 95th year. The event usually draws around 60,000 participants and its tailgate and hat contests are exceptional.

On Saturday, June 27, the Virginia Gold Cup will be livestreamed starting at 12:30 p.m. EDT. This is the first time the event has been run without spectators, due to COVID-19. Jockeys, trainers, grooms and only essential personnel are allowed on the race grounds. The livestream is available at no cost and may be seen at this link

Typically, the Virginia Gold Cup is run in May on the same date as the Kentucky Derby, and is one of the largest steeplechase events in the nation. It has often been considered Virginia’s answer to the Kentucky Derby.

Virtual tailgate and hat entries will be accepted by uploading photos to Virginia Gold Cup social media:  or @vagoldcup. Be sure to include #vagoldcup2020. Entries must be sent by midnight Saturday, June 27. Winners will be selected by 5 p.m. on Monday, June 29 and notified on the week of June 29.  The winning tailgate (first place) will receive an Oakwood Box to the 2020 International Gold Cup.  Runners up and hat contest winners will receive Gold Cup t-shirts, commemorative cups, and Gold Cup hats.  For the tailgate contest, three winners will be selected in first, second and third place based on creativity, theme and quality of menu. For the hat contest, five winners will be selected—most glamourous, most outrageous, best racing theme, best men’s hat and best child’s hat.

In addition, the Virginia Gold Cup will run trivia questions on its social media platforms throughout the day asking questions about the livestream. First respondents with correct answers will be able to win tickets to future Gold Cup races, hats, shirts, etc.

“We hope some of our many Virginia Gold Cup fans will celebrate the day with safe-distancing watch parties, tailgating and hat contests,” stated Dr. William Allison, chairman of the Virginia Gold Cup Association.

With race meets having had to cancel all spring, many in the horse industry are facing unprecedented hardship. The steeplechase community has come together to try to maintain the employment of more than 1,000 jockeys, trainers and many others on farms who exercise and care for the horses. The 95th running of the Virginia Gold Cup will provide purse money for participants. Even more importantly, it will provide a viable and tangible boost to keep many working in the equine industry employed.

The equine industry is important to Virginia’s economy. A 2018/19 report by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reported that the horse industry brings more than $2 billion annually in economic development to the Commonwealth. The report noted that there are more than 183,643 horses in the state that provide approximately 38,874 jobs. It also stated that there are 30.5% or one million households that contain horse enthusiasts. “The viability of the horse industry is an important component for the Commonwealth’s economy,” Allison added.

For more information on the 95th running of the Virginia Gold Cup, visit

The 2020 Virginia Gold Cup Races are presented by Brown Advisory, the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, Virginia Equine Alliance and the Virginia Breeders Fund.

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