It's a Horse Race

Last Saturday, they ran the 138th Kentucky Derby, and I'll Have Another won the race.  Well, up here in Northern Virginia, our horsey folks had their own little set of races.   This was the 87th anniversary of the Virginia Gold Cup Races, in The Plains, Va. I got a last-minute invite from a photog buddy, and we went out to join the crowds (about 50,000).  The weather wasn't too hot; the skies were overcast, giving us even light but boring skies.  It was a great day for the races.  Robert Duvall presented the trophy to the winner.

These events are as much about "meeting and greeting" as they are about the horse races.  We didn't have too much time to go out and shoot photos of the crowds before the races, but, as in Kentucky, Gold Cup folks were wearing their hats.

A fancy hat at the Virginia Gold Cup Race  looking cool at the Virginia Gold Cup Race













The ladies had on their new sun dresses and were sporting fresh paint jobs on their toes.  Even the band wore fancy hats and skirts.   ;-)

scenes from the Virginia Gold Cup Race


Unlike the Kentucky Derby, we had six races around a meadow course, with jumps scattered throughout.   Each race was a different length (2-4.5 miles), and the riders came from different directions.  The crowd was on the rails cheering them on.

fence jumping horse race

We found a spot on the rails between a couple of jumps to maximize our shooting options.   Our shooting position offered two different jumps and an open stretch.

Horse jumping the fence at the Virginia Gold Cup Race

horse racing at the Virginia Gold Cup Race

With fast-moving subjects, we bumped up the ISO to keep the shutter speeds above 1/1000 and the racers sharp.  Between the jumps, we shot them racing by at a full gallop.

The Plains, Virginia, horse racing

It was a fun day at the races for all.  Something I'd never done before.  There is another race in October to give me another chance.  I'm betting the grandchildren would really enjoy being there, too.   Sharing the experience is one of the things that makes photography so much fun.

jockies at full gallop