82nd running of the Montpelier Hunt Races on Saturday
Race Day 2016 will feature seven horse races beginning at 12:30 p.m. with purses totaling over $105,000. Other festivities will include the Jack Russell Terrier Races and Stick Horse Races prior to the Hunt Races. The wildly-popular Hat Contest will feature celebrity judge Travis Koshko, Charlottesville Newsplex meteorologist, and headline sponsor Dubarry of Ireland. In celebration of the Races’ 82nd anniversary, this year’s Hunt Race Tailgate Competition is themed “Celebrating Southern.” Participants are encouraged to use recipes featuring ingredients indigenous to the South. Celebrity judge Chef John Hoffman of The Keswick Club in Keswick, Virginia, will preside over the competition.
The Montpelier Hunt Races, long considered the unofficial start to the Orange County holiday season, expects an attendance of approximately 18,000 visitors. Many levels of admission are available, the most coveted being the Reserved Parking Spaces, located on the rail or other prime viewing areas with space for entertaining six to 12 guests. Vendors’ Row hosts an assortment of retailers specializing in hats, clothing, jewelry, boots, chocolates, cigars, and artwork. Special edition prints of the 2016 Hunt Races poster, designed by Maryland artist Sam Robinson, will be available for purchase; Sam will be on hand to sign posters.
Open house tours of the Madisons’ home will be offered from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; the cost is $10/adults and $5/children. Animals, with the exception of service dogs, are not permitted. Follow this event on Twitter using the hashtag #MontpelierHuntRaces.
About The Montpelier Steeplechase and Equestrian Foundation
The Montpelier Hunt Races were established in 1934 by Marion duPont Scott and her brother William duPont, Jr. Together, the siblings created many of steeplechase and flat racing’s best known venues. In 1929, Scott built a steeplechase course and a flat track on the Montpelier property and initiated the Montpelier Hunt Races soon thereafter. Scott died in 1983, and upon her death the duPont family transferred the Montpelier property to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Scott’s legacy continues today with the running of the Montpelier Races, a premier event on the National Steeplechase Association’s circuit.The Montpelier Hunt Races are organized by The Montpelier Steeplechase and Equestrian Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Proceeds from the Races benefit James Madison’s Montpelier. For more information or photos, please contact Martha Strawther at 540-672-0027 or visit the website www.montpelierhuntraces.org.