Tag: Steeplechase of Charleston

2 minute interview

 

 

2 minute interview with Ross Geraghty

Steeplechase of Charleston 2019 will conclude with a 2 and 3/8 mile race. Strong horses can build their speed up to 30 miles per hour, clocking in a mile at around the 2 minute mark! We brought the pace of the races to a quick interview with Irish jockey, Ross Geraghty. Ross has enjoyed a long career with many victories. Ahead of Father's Day, Ross talks about the person who inspired him to become a winning jockey, his dad.

Ross Geraghty jockey

Q: What is your earliest memory of horse racing with your father?

Ross: I guess as a child going racing with him and horses he trained.

Q: What do you admire most about your father?

Ross: He has always been a great mentor and very encouraging to me and my siblings. He was strict, yet fair when we were kids.

Q: What is one word that describes your father and why?

Ross: Kind.

Q: What do you and your father have in common apart from horse racing?

Ross: We are the same person in so many ways.

Q: What's the best advice your father has given you?

Ross: Invest in property from early in my career.

Q: Any special memories with your father you would like to share?

Ross: I rode a lot of winners on horses he trained, which was brilliant. The most special is probably after winning the Irish Grand National and he greeting me on route to the winner's circle. He and my mum must have been in Fair Hills for some of my big days there.

The team at Steeplechase of Charleston wishes everyone a very happy Father's Day!

Have a few additional minutes to hear more from Ross Geraghty? We think you will love this interview with The National Steeplechase Association.

History of SC Horse Racing

The Steeplechase of Charleston is deeply rooted in the history of its home city. Charleston’s passion for horse racing goes all the way back to the early years of our country. With the beautiful historic town becoming the prime seat for racing in the South following the revolution, it's only natural that one of the oldest spectator sports in the world remains popular here.

The Jockey Club

The first American horse racing track was created in 1665 on Long Island. It wasn’t until the early 1700's that the sport came to South Carolina (long before the beginnings of The Post and Courier.) It was in 1734 that the South Carolina Gazette published the first record of racing in the state. And that same year, the South Carolina Jockey Club formed.

America’s first jockey club, composed of wealthy horse owners and breeders, was organized in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1734.
- SmithsonianMag.com

This Jockey Club even predates by 16 years the formation of the English Jockey Club, which still organizes English racing today. The United States did eventually found its own national-level Jockey Club modeled on the English organization.

Organized races in South Carolina began to take place in Charleston, Edisto, Jacksonborough, Pocotaligo and Strawberry Ferry. Following the American Revolutionary War, racing continued to greatly increase in popularity.

The Washington Race Course

Charleston was the home of the Washington Course, which ran around what is today called Hampton Park. Thousands of spectators would come to the site every February, kicking off the winter social season.

It was this particular race that boosted horse racing in Charleston to a level that has lasted generations. The course was first used in 1792 for the Jockey Club Purse. This race consisted of four heats, each run with the same horses and riders. Spectators would spend time between heats making new wagers and exploring the racetrack grounds.

The South Carolina Jockey Club continued to be the exclusive club for elite members of southern society for decades. Described as the “carnival of the state,” race week in Charleston was home to shops, stands, new restaurants and real estate auctions. It was also the place to purchase newly imported horses from England.

When the nation entered into its Civil War, thoroughbred horses were lost in great numbers. A massive economic decline followed the war. Horse racing in South Carolina was all but dead because of this and the Jockey Club was disbanded for good in 1899.

The rise and fall of racing

Various wars and legislation caused American horse racing popularity to fluctuate over the years. Anti-gambling sentiments and the first World War wiped out the races tracks. But when state legislatures legalized betting in exchange for a cut of the wagers, the sport had a major turnaround.

This surge in popularity was also short-lived, as World War II led to a decline in racing during the 1950s and 1960s. But the sport pushed on during this dry spell and eventually found a series of American Triple Crown winners in the horses Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed. The excitement around these winners led to a resurgence in the 1970s which lasted nearly two decades.

Popularity again began to wane from the 1980s up until today. We have had two triple crown winners in recent years, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018. Racing is again becoming the major social event it once was.

Steeplechase of Charleston today

Through partnership with Charleston’s The Post and Courier, Steeplechase of Charleston is set to ignite the excitement and tradition of horse racing in the south. During the height of the South Carolina Jockey Club, members hosted required parties, dinners, galas and all manner of festivities. Steeplechase of Charleston brings all of these gatherings to one place.

The Steeplechase of Charleston 2019 is a day full of activities and experiences for all ages. The event centers around five races that finish off the season for steeplechase horse racing. Just as the Jockey Club Purse once consisted of multiple race heats, so too will the Steeplechase of Charleston. This makes for a full-day event to enjoy the marketplace, food trucks, tailgating and more themed activities.

There could be no more fitting home for the conclusion of race season than the city that once held the prime seat of horse racing for the entire country. Steeplechase of Charleston is proud to keep that tradition alive in 2019 and beyond.