Spring Point to Point Preview

By Julie Reardon

SPRING POINT TO POINT PREVIEW

Technically spring’s not here yet, but an unusually warm February had many of us itching to get outside and enjoy all the area has to offer. And as reliably as blooming forsythia and daffodils, March brings the opening of Virginia’s legendary hunt race meets. Yes, we could still get a big winter storm, although I personally take comfort in the fact that the snow doesn’t hang around in March the way it does in January or February. Gardeners are itching to get their hands dirty although we know better—we scratch the itch by starting seeds indoors and pruning things that need it ‘til the danger of frost passes. This winter, most farm ponds never froze and barely even got occasional skim ice, so Canada geese and wood ducks have been pairing up and nesting since last month.

This can be a tricky month to plan ahead for outdoor activities, but most of the early spring races are held rain or shine (or mud) unless it’s unusually prolonged or a danger to the horses and jockeys. Our mild winter has allowed owners, trainers and riders to keep horses in training all winter, so entries should be plentiful offering full fields at the early meets. And dressing and preparing a tailgate for unpredictable early spring weather is part of the fun, but just in case we’ve included numbers so you can call the day of the meet if the weather looks questionable.

Most of the point to point meets offer general admission with decent viewing areas. With general admission tickets available at the gate, if you like spur of the moment adventures, not much advance planning is required. However, reserved tailgating spaces, especially those with the best views of the race course, need to be purchased in advance, with prime spots selling briskly this year. General admission tickets usually offer substantial savings if bought in advance as well. And you’re guaranteed to see lots of daffodils, forsythia and maybe even some early blooming redbuds at the end of the month on the drive out.

Attire for the March and early April meets is usually weather dependent, but casual. Most point to points are held in pastures and farm fields, so a 4 wheel drive vehicle is recommended as well as sturdy all weather shoes. Later in spring and for the sanctioned meets, attire and tailgates get dressier. The National Steeplechase Association sanctioned meets (noted on the calendar with NSA after the meet) are dressier and some offer advance purchase admission only, so they typically require more advance planning and a larger cash outlay to get a reserved tailgate party space. Some of the NSA meets are now offering pari-mutuel wagering, although unlike flat racing, they’re not dependent on wagering for purses.

 

Saturday, March 11
12:00 noon

Blue Ridge Hunt Point to Point
Woodley Farm, Berryville, Virginia
(540) 550-7015
(703) 509-4499
www.blueridgehunt.org

 

Saturday, March 18
12:30 pm

Warrenton Hunt Point to Point
Airlie Race Course, Warrenton, Virginia
(540) 270-1730
www.warrentonhunt.com
Saturday, March 25
1:00 pm

Piedmont Fox Hounds Point to Point
Salem Course, Upperville, Virginia
(540) 592-7100
Sunday, April 2
1:00 pm

Orange County Hounds Point to Point
Locust Hill Farm, Middleburg, Virginia
(540) 687-5552
pippy@vafallraces.com
Saturday, April 8
12:00 noon

Old Dominion Hounds Point to Point
Ben Venue Farm, Ben Venue, Virginia
(540) 364-4573
(540) 636-1507
olddominionhounds.weebly.com
Sunday, April 16
12:00 noon

Loudoun Hunt Point to Point
Oatlands Plantation, Leesburg, Virginia
(540) 338-4031

 

Saturday, April 22

1:00 pm

Warrenton Hunt Hunter Pace Events
(540) 219-6562
www.warrentonhunt.com
Saturday, April 22
1:30 pm

Middleburg Spring Races (NSA)
Glenwood Park, Middleburg, Virginia
(540) 687-6545
(504) 687-6595
Saturday, April 29
1:00 pm

Foxfield Spring Races (NSA
Charlottesville, Virginia
(434) 293-9501
www.foxfieldraces.com
Sunday, April 30
1:00 pm

Middleburg Hunt Point to Point
Glenwood Park, Middleburg, Virginia
(540) 687-6069
(540) 454-2991
Saturday, May 6
1:00 pm

Virginia Gold Cup Races (NSA)
Great Meadow, The Plains, Virginia
(540) 347-2612
www.vagoldcup.com

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