Category: Race Day Prep

Spring Into Steeplechase!

Spring is back and so is Steeplechase of Charleston! King Street is flux with eager visitors, beaches are busy with blissful tanners, and restaurants are filling up famished diners. Soon enough, we’ll be back at the tracks, dusting mud off our elegant race outfits.

What is a Steeplechase?

You’ve got 207 days to learn everything you can about Steeplechase of Charleston– and we’re here to help. First, refresh: how are steeplechases different from a running race?

Most people are familiar with the classic, Olympic sprint races, but steeplechases take on exciting new heights. This is a distance horse race, involving obstacles for competitors to surmount. These laps of leaps last for 4 to 6 miles and challenge young thoroughbreds to jump over steel frame fences topped by a plastic brush.

You’ve got the rundown of the race. Secondly, you need our story. The Steeplechase of Charleston has all of the anticipation of the race in all of the rich South Carolina beauty. Located at the Stono Ferry Racetrack, viewers get to enjoy one of America’s most traditional sports while being surrounded by the greenery of Hollywood, SC.

2020 Steeplechase Highlights

After a year of unpredictability, 2020’s Steeplechase of Charleston brought a new kind of anticipation– who would stand apart at the day’s end? This sorely needed entertainment consisted of five races throughout the day, with racehorse Bet The Pot clinching the Post and Courier Cup for $20,000.

Trainer Jonathan Sheppard and jockey Gerard Galligan cleaned up with winnings from 4 out of the 5 races. Their successes put Steeplechase of Charleston on the map for National Steeplechase Association titles.

Next Moves

It’s already time to spring into Steeplechase of Charleston. From the race, the people, the history, and the style, Steeplechase of Charleston is a unique experience that welcomes viewers from near and far. And you can be a part of it.

We’re a quick 207 days away from Steeplechase of Charleston, but who’s counting, right?

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

10 Winning Tailgate Recipes

Part of what makes the Steeplechase of Charleston such a fun event is that it is so much more than just a horse race. The accompanying tailgating is a steeplechase tradition that keeps people coming back year after year. And let’s be honest, the most important part of any tailgate is the food.

Bloody Mary

This classic drink is made with basic ingredients and like most things, can be greatly improved using quality ingredients to boost the flavor. You can make it even more appealing by adding garnishments like shrimp, cherry peppers, and beef jerky. 

Mint julepMint Julep


Made famous by the Kentucky Derby, this refreshing cocktail only has three ingredients (besides the crushed ice!).

Barbecued Meatballs

Meatballs seem to disappear about as fast as you can make them and these are no exception.  Pro tip: you can use the crackers in the previous recipe to scoop up the meatballs and extra sauce…you’re welcome!

Chicken and Waffle Skewers

What could be more Southern than chicken and waffles? What could be more Southern than chicken and waffles? It’s a simple combination of sweet and savory, accompanied by a side of syrup. Find the recipe here. 


Cabbage and Asian Pear Slaw

Light with a perfect texture, this side dish has it all: creaminess, tastiness, and crunchiness. It can be made in advance and transports easily. Find the recipe here.

Buffalo Chicken Dips

Packed with zesty flavor, these bite-size dips are perfect for a tailgate. Find the recipe here. 

Charleston Cheese Dip

How could you go wrong with a dish that includes cream cheese, bacon, mayonnaise and chips?  This dish has all of the hearty ingredients needed to keep up your stamina for a day outside.

Southern Living’s Crack Crackers


There’s a reason these crackers earned this name. They’re addictively good and a great snack to munch on while watching the races. Here’s the recipe. 

Lemon Bars

These sweet but tart treats are the perfect accompaniment to your tailgate spread.  The combination of lemon curd, shortbread crust and confectioner’s sugar results in an easy to eat dessert with the added benefit of vitamin C.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

We will be well into fall by November 15th, so of course we had to include a pumpkin treat. This recipe is easy to make and totally irresistible.



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.


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. 


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. 


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. 


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.  


Mystery Air Drop


...just bring your iPhone!

Steeplechase of Charleston will be giving away a host of amazing prizes in the most unique fashion this year! Welcome to Mystery Air Drop, a sponsored giveaway for racegoers with Apple iPhones. You can win prizes from:


1. Join us race day Nov. 17 at The Plantation at Stono Ferry Racetrack.

2. Be sure your iPhone AirDrop/Bluetooth settings are ON and set to receive from Everyone.

3. Listen for the announcer at the end of each race announce the giveaway.

4. Have your phones ready as you may be randomly chosen to win.

5. If you receive the Mystery AirDrop photo with the Prize, save/screengrab. There will be instructions on how to redeem your prize.

6. Only (1) prize will be given per Mystery AirDrop.

*We will not be sending any other communications via AirDrop. You must be present on race day to be eligible. If you receive the Mystery AirDrop to your phone, you must register your win with an employee of Steeplechase of Charleston on Race Day. Instructions will be provided to all winners. All offers are non-transferable. This offer excludes all employees of the Evening Post Industries.*