A Fun-Filled Day of Tailgating and Horse Racing Benefits the Arts
Horses will take center stage at Callaway Gardens® once again for the thrills, chills and thoroughbred majesty of one of the world’s oldest and most exciting sports – steeplechasing. Set for Saturday, November 6, The Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens is one of 36 stops on a 12-state tour that includes some of the country’s finest tracks and top steeplechase jockeys.
One of the Nation’s Top Steeplechase Events
Steeplechasing, which primarily features horses converted from flat racing, allows spectators to see these horses at their athletic best as they jump over 52” high hurdles at premium speeds.
The 2 3/8-mile course at Callaway Gardens long has been considered one of the most beautiful steeplechase sites in the United States. The 200-acre site is cradled in hardwoods and statuesque Georgia pines with rolling hills overlooking Pine Mountain Ridge. The scenery is punctuated with striking colors of the changing leaves. It is a wonderful setting for a day in the country. A 20’ x 27’ video screen allows Terrace and Guarantor patrons to follow the action all the way around the track, including the start, back stretch and finish.
The Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens includes six main races with a total purse of $160,000. These races are the W.C. Bradley Maiden Timber; The Collie Jennings Mullin Amateur Hurdle sponsored by CB&T; AFLAC Championship Supreme Hurdle; Crown Royal Sport of Queens Stakes; Suntrust Highweight Hurdle; and the Skanska Flat Race. Prior to the main race action, the event features the Maxine Strupe Perpetual Pony Race and the V’roooom Technology Inc. Junior Hunter Race.
Once again this year, the fun will extend beyond the track with a series of family activities and special events. The Infield will come alive throughout the day with entertainment ranging from annual Jack Russell Terrier races to stick pony races permitting children to dash down the track to claim prizes while experiencing the thrill of the ‘chase.’ In addition, there will be a hat contest and tailgate competition both with a variety of categories. Also for children is a Kids Corral providing many fun activities for children under the age of 10 such as inflatable slides, popcorn and cotton candy. Kids Corral wristbands are only $20.
New for the 2010 Steeplechase
The 2010 race director is Kate McGrory. New to Columbus several years ago, McGrory is an avid horsewoman who for the past three years has volunteered with the Steeplechase serving in Race Operations and hospitality for Owners and Trainers.
McGrory introduces a new venue combining two southern traditions, barbeque and college football, in one large tent. For $25 patrons can enjoy an upscale BBQ lunch while keeping up with football games and scores broadcast on large-screen TVs. Complimentary beers and wines will be served. BBQ and Ballgames replaces Galloping Gourmets. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling the Steeplechase office at 760-324-6252. A limited number of tickets are available.
Also new this year is a designated area to “bring your own tent” at the Start on the Rail. Previously, individual tents were not permitted. However, the Steeplechase committee decided to test this idea suggested by a patron. Reserve the space, which includes six tickets and one parking pass, and drive your car right up to the spot and unload your own tent, chairs and picnic.
Supporting the Arts
The Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens is more than a day at the races. Race Chairman Mason Lampton was the visionary who combined his love of steeplechasing with the community’s needs. “Our mission has always been to financially support the arts in our community using the Steeplechase as a vehicle to do so,” said Lampton. “This has proven to be a positive experience for everyone, both by adding a sporting event which is entertaining for all ages and so far has allowed us to contribute a total of $2.7 million to the arts in this region.” Beneficiaries include The Columbus Museum, The Columbus Symphony Orchestra, The Historic Columbus Foundation, The Ida Cason Callaway Foundation and The Springer Opera House. An additional partnership with Auburn University's College of Veterinary Medicine is made possible through the proceeds.
Infield tickets are $25 per person. Box seats range from $325 for six to $500 for six. Tent packages begin at $800 for six and are available for entertaining larger families or corporate guests. Reserved Rail Packages in the Infield are $270 for six. Tickets can be purchased online at www.steeplechaseatcallaway.org; by calling 706-324-6252; and at the front desks of Callaway Gardens’ Lodge and Spa and Mountain Creek Inn beginning Saturday, October 9th. Same-day tickets will be available at the gate on Nelson Road off of Ga. Hwy. 18.
The easiest way to enjoy Steeplechase is to stay at one of Callaway Gardens’ many choices of accommodations. A variety of Steeplechase overnight packages are available that include tickets to Steeplechase, overnight accommodations, a Saturday breakfast, a Sunday champagne brunch, admission to Callaway Gardens and use of a fitness center. To reserve your overnight package, visit www.callawaygardens.com or call 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292).
The entrance to Steeplechase is begins at the intersection of Ga. Hwy. 18 and Nelson Road. Gates open at 10 a.m. Entertainment in the infield begins at 10:30 a.m. and Post Time is 12 p.m. A race day schedule is available online.
For more information about The Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens, call 706-324-6252 or visit www.steeplechaseatcallaway.org.