Not able to go to the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness? That’s ok, there IS an alternative. Virginia’s neighbors to the west and the north might have triple crown races, but Virginia has the perfect remedy for your all your horse racing wants and needs: The Virginia Gold Cup — an all day horse racing event/tailgate held in the foothills of the Blue Ridge in The Plains, Virginia. This event is a huge Virginia tradition and those who come generally put immense effort into their outfits, hats, and tailgate decorations/menu.
This is the second year I’ve hosted a tailgate on the north rail and it did not disappoint. Always held the same day as the Kentucky Derby, one can attend the Gold Cup in a number of ways. You can buy a car pass and come with your friends to find an empty space to perch on the grass. You can plan your own tailgate, like I did, which takes a special level of dedication, time or effort. Or, your last option could be buying into a corporate tailgate, which is easy breezy as they transport you from DC to The Plains and food and drink are open and unlimited.
The race day is chock full of activities, including a tailgate competition, a best hat competition, and a best dressed competition! Also, if you’re lucky enough to have coveted Members Hill badges, you can go with ease from your tailgate to Members Hill to have a front row seat to all of the glamour and splendor of the day.
The invited guests of my tailgate surely did not disappoint with their hats and outfits. The women looked splendid and the men looked absolutely dapper. Being the BSB I am, I absolutely had to plan my own tail gate. I did go lowkey this year with ordering catering and not decorating extensively, but next year, I think I will to ramp it up and participate in a few of the competitions.
If you’re interested in participating in the VA Gold Cup next year, think about reserving a tailgate space on the north or south rail! If you’re not into planning an extensive event, bringing a blanket and a basket full of food and laying out with your friends as you watch the horses race by is just as nice and relaxing! Happy Horse racing!