Category: Horses

Highlights: Steeplechase of Charleston 2020

November 15, 2020, starts with sunshine and smog rolling over the hills of the Stono Ferry Racetrack. Clouds pushing through bringing soft rain throughout the morning as people trickle into place. The skies open up and give way to miraculous sunshine just in time for the races, leading to a gorgeous fall day at Steeplechase of Charleston.

With amazing sponsors and numerous tailgaters, Steeplechase of Charleston 2020 is one for the books. 

The opening ceremonies kick off with a high note as Grammy award-winning artists Quiana Parler and Charlton Singleton from Ranky Tanky perform the National Anthem for Steeplechase of Charleston. All of which stream internationally on the National Steeplechase Association (NSA), Blood Horse, and Horse and Country TV! Click here to watch! 

As the riders begin to take off, Opening Ceremonies sponsor Hopkins Law Firm gave the first “Riders Up!” followed by Mark Peper of Peper Law Firm who also gave a “Riders Up!”

A Crowning Achievement!

Steeplechase of Charleston became the qualifier of NSA’s trainer and jockey of the year Hall of Fame 

trainer,  Jonathan Sheppard, and jockey, Gerard Galligan, who both left with winnings from 4 out of 5 of the races, a total of $50,000 in purse money. Read more about the winners here.

Another big winner? James Schelb winning the first-place raffle prize, a trip to Haig Point on Daufuskie Island! Charlie Black coming in second-place winning the raffle prize of a unique equestrian bottle of Blanton’s Bourbon. The raffle overall raising $2,100 for Hollings Cancer Center. Fun for a good cause!

Vendor Village

Between the races, guests enjoy the opportunity to explore the vendor village. Whether it was holiday shopping for designer boots at Charleston Shoe Co., handmade jewelry from Georgia Jewels, or boutique handbags from Darling Clutch Co., the most extravagant gifts were found!

Then, come time for a recharge, guests stop for a snack at Flight food truck or nitro cold brew from Pourly Grounded Coffee.

A popular destination throughout the day: LuXe Mobile Cigar Lounge.  Guests found an immersive cigar experience and a moment to take in all of Steeplechase.

Enjoyed By All!

Even Southern Charm star Madison LeCroy and The Righteous Gemstones actor Danny McBride are spotted taking in all the excitement of Steeplechase 2020!

The volunteers and Steeplechase team pulled off a wonderful, safe event. 

Thank You!

A huge thank you to all the vendors for providing both their time and their resources to enhance the Steeplechase experience. The day would not have been the same without these amazing businesses and organizations! View the full list of vendors and sponsors here

Steeplechase of Charleston 2020 Results

Steeplechase of Charleston 2020

So, what were the Steeplechase results?

The day of November 15, 2020, starts with sunshine and smog rolling over the hills of the Stono Ferry Racetrack. Clouds pushing through bringing soft rain throughout the morning as people trickle into place. The skies open up and give way to miraculous sunshine just in time for the races, leading to a gorgeous fall day at Steeplechase of Charleston.

There were a total of 5 races throughout the day. First, the Evening Post Cup, with $7,500 in purse money. High Sierra winning this first prize.

Then, the Publisher Cup with another $7,500 in purse money up for grabs. Penitence wins this one. However, High Sierra’s jockey and trainer were riding and training Pentience. Galligan and Sheppard win another cup with a different horse.

Third race up, the Post and Courier Cup with $20,000 up for grabs, the most of each race. Galligan and Shepherd grab a third win on another horse, Bet The Pot.

The fourth cup, Editor Cup (a $15,000 prize), goes to Zoom Zoom Zoe on Galligan and Shepherd yet again!

Finally, the Alston Cup worth $15,000. Dalton and Dalton clench this win from Galligan and Shepherd on horse Mr. Sarinana!

Top winners trainer Jonathan Sheppard and jockey Gerard Galligan leftwith winnings from 4 out of 5 of the races, a total of $50,000 in purse money. Additionally, the duo became NSA’s Hall of Fame trainer and Jockey of The Year. Steeplechase of Charleston was the qualifier for these titles. 

Here’s to Steeplechase of Charleston 2021!

Horse (jockey, trainer)

Evening Post Cup ($7,500 purse)

  1. High Sierra (Galligan, Sheppard)
  2. Lemon Again (Mitchell, Thompson)
  3. Vincent Van Gogo (Watters, Morris)
  4. Western Crusader (Dalton, Dalton)
  5. Lovely Sunset (Geraghty, Gomena)
  6. Duellist (Foley, Davies)

Publisher Cup ($7,500)

  1. Penitence (Galligan, Sheppard)
  2. Yankee Doodle Boy (Foley, Fout)
  3. Sim Card (Dalton, Dalton)
  4. Choklitcoverdonut (Geraghty, Wofford)
  5. Argentic (Macauley, Morris)
  6. Bowled Over (Mitchell, Dowling)

Post and Courier Cup ($20,000)

  1. Bet The Pot (Galligan, Sheppard)
  2. Thomas Cubitt (Mitchell, Young)
  3. Compass Zone (Watters, McDermott)
  4. Sherkali (Macauley, Kingsley)
  5. Eagle Fifty (Foley, Fout)
  6. Thomond Park (Geraghty, Gomena)

Editor Cup ($15,000)

  1. Zoom Zoom Zoe (Galligan, Sheppard)
  2. Notjudginjustsayin (Mitchell, Fisher)
  3. Animal Kingston (Watters, Morris)
  4. Mighty Mark (Dagle, Neilson)
  5. Junonia (Dalton, Morris)
  6. Undisclosed (Foley, Fout)

Alston Cup ($15,000)

  1. Mr. Sarinana (Dalton, Dalton)
  2. Lap of the Gods (Galligan, Sheppard)
  3. Cainudothetwist (Macauley, Kingsley)
  4. Koko Star (Foley, Fout)
  5. Bogey’s Image (Watters, McDermott)
  6. Heaven Made (Geraghty, Sheppard).

 

Steeplechase Around the World

As one of the oldest spectator sports in the world, horse racing, and specifically, the Steeplechase makes its presence known worldwide.

Ireland

The tradition of racing runs very deep in Ireland. It is here that steeplechasing was born; it is here that many of the most illustrious horses in racing history have been bred over the course of several centuries. – Irish Racehorse Trainers Association 

The first recorded steeplechase occurred in Ireland in 1752 between horsemen Edmund Blake and Cornelius O’Callaghan. They raced the distance between the steeples of churches Buttevant and Doneraile in Cork County. Unfortunately, the winner of this race is still unknown.

The jump racing season spans the entire year, but the majority of the races fall between November and April. The largest races have accompanying festivals, each with their own traditions. The dress code is fairly informal in comparison to other places, except for Ladies Day when women of all ages don their most elegant and extravagant clothes. 

England

spectators at Royal Ascot

Horse racing is one of the largest spectator sports in Great Britain.

The world’s most well-known steeplechase is The Grand National. The event is held at the historic Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool. Up to forty runners compete and the purse is £1 million.  Some avid steeplechase fans believe that the race has lost some of its character by implementing changes to the course in recent years (such as softening the fences). However, the race remains a popular and well-attended event. 

Following the dress code is not optional, especially at Royal Ascot, England’s most prestigious horse race. With The Queen and many other royals regularly in attendance, race attendees embrace tradition  and wear their best clothes for the occasion. 

France

Jump racing in France has never quite reached the same level of popularity as in neighboring England and Ireland. Though similar, French jump racing has a few noticeable differences. One of these differences is that the hurdles are not collapsible. Instead, many races have bullfinches, hedges up to 8 ft. tall, that horses have to jump through.

Another difference is that the racehorses are not exclusively Thoroughbreds. AQPS horses, a French breed developed by mixing Thoroughbreds with local breeds and saddle horses, are also used.

Auteuil in Paris is the most well-known racecourse. 

United States

Unlike in England and Ireland, where jump races are referred to as National Hunt Racing, Americans typically refer to jump races as steeplechasing. There are two major divisions: races over hurdles and races over timber fences.

American jump racing occurs in 11 states: South Carolina (obviously!), North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. The National Steeplechase Association, founded in 1995, remains the governing body of jump racing in North America. Most tracks in the U.S. are privately owned, with the horses, trainers, and jockeys being independent contractors.

Steeplechase race in Middleburg, Virginia

The largest American steeplechase is the Breeder’s Cup Grand National Steeplechase (previously known as the American Grand National). It draws crowds of 50,000 and has a purse of $500,000.  Race-day fashion in the U.S. is largely focused on the elaborate hats. 

Australia

Jump racing was brought to the Land Down Under by British settlers. The obstacle sizes are reduced here due to an increased emphasis on safety in recent years.

Eagle Farm Racecourse, part of Melbourne Cup festival events 2011 Brisbane, Australia

The Grand Annual steeplechase in Warrnambool has more fences than any other steeplechase and as a whole, Australia has more racecourses than any other nation.

The jump season occurs from March to September, but Saturdays are considered the main day for racing.  Several racing carnivals are held throughout the season, the largest of which is the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.  

 

Who’s who of horses

who's who of horses

There are hundreds of different horse breeds, each with unique genetics. We've compiled a list of some of the most popular horse breeds to give you an idea of how they compare to the Thoroughbreds that race in Steeplechase of Charleston.

American Quarter Horse

horse breed type

The American Quarter Horse is the most popular breed in the United States. American Quarter horses tend to be short and stocky with heavy muscular development. They are characterized by broad chests and a short, wide head.  Their coats are all solid and come in a variety of colors, with Sorrel and Chestnut being the most common.

The name 'Quarter' is derived from the race these horses excel at - the quarter mile. While they do not have the stamina Thoroughbreds do, Quarter horses have the speed to beat them in short races.

Because of their ability to make fast starts, turns, and stops, they are valuable in cattle herding. Overall, these are versatile horses with an easy-going temperament.

Height: 14.3 to 16 hands

Weight: 950 to 1,200 pounds

American Paint Horse

American Paint Horses, sometimes referred to as Pinto, are easily recognizab

le due to their distinctive coloring. Each horse's coat pattern has a color combination of white and another color. The two most common patterns are Tobiano and Overo. No two Paint horses have exactly the same pattern.

Height: 14.2 to 16 hands

Weight: 1,150 pounds

Appaloosa

Originally developed by the Native American tribe, Nez Pierce.  They are thought to have descended from Wild Mustangs. These horses have distinctive vertically striped hooves and spotted coats. Typically, these are stock horses but they can also be used in a variety of Western riding disciplines. They are light, but sturdy. 

Height: 14.2 to 16 hands

Weight: 1,000 to 1,100 pounds

Arabian

horse breed

These horses are the oldest registered breed and are easy to spot thanks to their chiseled head, dished profile, and long arching neck. Since they are characteristically affectionate and bond well with humans, Arabian horses are often used in instructional programs and therapeutic riding. They are often praised for being one of the more intelligent horse breeds.

Height: 14.1 to 15.2 hands

Weight: 800 to 1,000 pounds

Morgan Horse

horse breed 2

The breed exists solely to please people. It's their heritage. - The American Morgan Horse Association

Because of their temperament, Morgan Horses are a great choice for beginner riders.

The Morgan Horse is the first documented American breed, descended from Justin Morgan (who shared his name with his owner).  Morgan Horses come in a variety of colors such as black, brown, chestnut, roan, and gray. They are attractive, with a nicely crested neck small ears, and expressive features.

Height: 14.1 to 15.2 hands

Weight: 900 to 1,100 pounds

Tennessee Walking Horse

"The word's greatest show, trail, and pleasure horse."  The Tennessee Walking Horse gets its name because of its gait. Instead of trotting, they do a running walk in which the front foot hits the ground before the diagonal hind foot. This provides riders with a smooth and comfortable ride. The running walk is faster than a typical flat-footed gait and has a speed of 6-8 miles per hour.

Its stature is heavier and stouter than those of American saddle horses. The Tennessee Walking Horse carries its head low and is less refined than other breeds. These horses come in a variety of colors.

Height: 15.2 hands (average)

Weight: 1,000 pounds

Thoroughbred

thoroughbred horse breed

What really sets Thoroughbreds apart from the rest is their stamina. They have large expressive eyes, long, sloping shoulders, and fine-boned legs with thin hooves. Their coats are primarily bay or chestnut.

Proper training is important, as these high-spirited horses need a suitable way to channel their energy.

Though this breed is best known for its athleticism and racing careers, Thoroughbreds are also used in eventing and can serve as riding or driving horses after they retire. Additionally, a number of them work as police horses in their communities.

Height: 15-17 hands

Weight: 1,000 to 1,200 pounds

What is a Steeplechase?

Steeplechase of Charleston

Not to be confused with the Olympic running race, the Steeplechase of Charleston is a distance horse race in which competitors are required to jump obstacles.

Background

The first steeplechase race is thought to have taken place in County Cork Ireland in 1752. Horsemen O'Callaghan and Edmund Blake raced the distance of one church to another, around 4.5 miles.

This race and others like this, is how the steeplechase name came to be. Nearby churches (steeples) would be used as reference points for the course. This was because the towering structures were the largest landmarks. Chase signified the racing aspect. 

Steeplechase horse racing is also sometimes referred to as 'jumps racing.'

Jockeys

Horse racing is a primarily male-dominated sport, but there have been a number of female jockeys in recent years. Steeplechase jockeys are generally a little heavier than flat race jockeys with the minimum weight limit being about 135 pounds.

Jockeys all wear racing silks, 

whose colorful designs are representative of the horse's owner rather than the jockey. The patterns have to be unique, since no two owners can have the same one. As a safety precaution, jockeys are also required to wear padded vests and approved helmets. Most are professional riders, but there are still some amateurs in the mix. A lot of them hail from Europe; England and Ireland, where they gain experience before coming to the United States.

Horses

All horses that participate in the steeplechase are Thoroughbreds. Their lineage must be proven with official Jockey Club registration papers. Many steeplechase horses are geldings (castrated) that are continuing their racing career.

The age range for steeplechase horses is 3-12 years old. They can compete for such a long period since they only participate in around 10 races per year.

Horses that run in steeplechases are sometimes referred to as 'chasers and can run up to 30 miles per hour. No wonder we measure speed in terms of horsepower!

The Race

The typical race length is between 4 and 6 miles. This is longer than flat races which are around .6 to 1 mile long. The distance between obstacles and the total number of obstacles varies from race to race.

Many of the obstacles are National Fences, which are man-made and portable. Developed by the National Steeplechase Association, these fences consist of a steel frame stuffed with plastic "brush." On the takeoff side, there is a foam-rubber roll covered with green canvas.

Steeplechase of Charleston 2018

The race's purse money goes to the owner of the champion horse, who shares some of it with the jockey and trainers. However, they are not the only beneficiaries of the steeplechase. Aside from the camaraderie and sense of community the exciting event provides, the Steeplechase of Charleston gives back through the Good Cheer Fund.