After an eight year hiatus, The Charleston Cup has returned for its 18th running. On November 13th, the horses and jockeys returned to The Plantation at Stono Ferry, under a perfectly blue Charleston sky. Tents went up, food and drinks were laid out, stylish garb including derby worthy hats were donned as the crowd cheered the return of this great event.
Sanctioned by The National Steeplechase Association, the Cup has become one of the premier sporting events in the Carolina Lowcountry, offering spectators the opportunity to experience live horse racing at its finest.
Founded by the South Carolina Jockey Club, the Charleston Cup is much more than just a horse race. The Cup was the social event of the season and now, upon its return, has again proven to be a must attend event! You don’t have to be a “horse person” to enjoy all the Charleston Cup has to offer. The race weekend kicks off with the elegant black-tie Race Ball. Live music, fabulous food and a special race preview combine to make this gala party an essential element in the total Cup experience.
On Sunday morning the nation’s top riders, trainers, and owners competed for purses totaling $50,000. Over 16,000 spectators enjoyed a full day at the races with exciting steeplechase and flat races. A vendor village (including Halls Chophouse and Freshberry yogurt) and tailgating were in full swing by the time the paddock call rolled around at 12:00 noon.
A steeplechase race differs from a flat race in many ways. Flat racing is exciting in that it has a great deal of speed while a steeplechase takes that speed and combines it with the danger of jumping. The thoroughbreds that run in steeplechase races are three years of age or older and have been trained specifically for ‘chasing.’ Additionally, the jockeys are typically larger than ones that would participate in a flat race. The extra height is necessary in order to have a better hold on the horse while soaring over the jumps.
Whether you are entertaining clients in a private corporate tent, relaxing with friends in a reserved parking space, or just spreading a blanket out for a picnic with a view, the Charleston Cup provides one and all with the ingredients for a fun-filled weekend. See you next year!