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Before the Kentucky Derby was created, Charleston was a pioneer in American horse racing

Horses gallop around the track throughout the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, held in the early 1900s (1901-02), at the area near what’s now known as Hampton Park.  Watch Kentucky Derby 2020, The very first jockey club in the USA was founded in Charleston.  Provided

Long before Secretariat secured the Triple Crown and much more than a century before Churchill Downs was started to host the Kentucky Derby, South Carolina set the standard for American horse racing.

 As agriculture-rich families began to invest in prized thoroughbreds, trade with English horse breeders abroad was started and brought the critters stateside. How to Watch Kentucky Derby.

 The city became one of the most critical horse racing venues in the world and, at one point, had as many as 10 racetracks.

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On Sunday, tradition and history are being celebrated with all the Steeplechase of Charleston in the Stono Ferry Racetrack at Hollywood.

After being purchased by The Post and Courier this season, race directors and organizers wish to recapture an occasion that is the pinnacle of storied Southern civilization.  Watch Kentucky Derby 2020, But they also want to create a contest that may function as proving ground for horses, trainers and jockeys to show they have what it takes to reach the next level.

New name in the Steeplechase of Charleston called for Revolutionary War officer


New name at the Steeplechase of Charleston called for Revolutionary War officer

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With $100,000 up for grabs among six different races, jockeys will take their horses and enter them in the spotlight of the National Steeplechase Association, How to Watch Kentucky Derby. believing a win here could indicate the beginning of a long and successful racing career.

“Hopefully, you’ll be looking at history in the making,” explained Toby Edwards, the executive director of the Carolina Cup Racing Association.  “I feel this will become a Southern tradition on the social calendar for quite a while.”

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A whole different creature

In 1752, Irish brothers Cornelius O’Callaghan and Edmund Blake desired to see who was the faster rider, and they decided to get a cross-country race out of 1 church steeple to another a little more than 6 miles apart.  Watch Kentucky Derby 2020. The men ran their horses through lush grass, rolling hills and above babbling brooks.

Forty years later, a comparable horse race in Charleston was held in 1792 as part of Washington Race week and even featured a 1-mile loop across Hampton Park.  How to Watch Kentucky Derby. One significant artifact from that race class stays: In 1903, its ornate gate was gifted to Belmont Park in New York, home to the third leg of the Triple Crown.

Horses gallop across the track during the South Carolina Inter-State and West Indian Exposition, held at the early 1900s (1901-02), in the area near what’s now Called Hampton Park.  Watch Kentucky Derby 2020 . The first jockey club in the USA was founded in Charleston.  Provided

Organized horse racing essentially ceased through the Civil War, but some Allied soldiers still broke the law and held their own contests when officers turned a blind eye.

An integral moment of revival came shortly after the war, when Thomas Hitchcock constructed a steeplechase facility on his large, 3,000-acre property in Aiken. Kentucky Derby Streaming online.  The National Steeplechase season actually starts with the Aiken Spring Steeplechase in March and ends with the Steeplechase of Charleston.

Steeplechase racing is a whole different creature from what many traditionally think of when it comes to horse racing.  Unlike the Kentucky Derby, where horses will prepare for a week or even longer about the dirt until the”Run For The Roses,” many of those Steeplechase contenders arrive at the trail unprepared.

The thoroughbred horses are somewhat older and heavier than usual.  They are trained at the countryside, in which running on grass and leaping over obstacles is much more commonplace, more ordinary, for them.  They typically run only 10 or fewer races each year.

 “It builds a closer relationship with the thoroughbreds and their owners and coaches because they are running much longer than other race horses.”

‘Old school of horse racing’

Jockey Ross Geraghty likes the danger of steeplechase racing.  The 42-year-old Ireland native said he’s been dropped by brothers many times during rapid turns and tall hurdles. Kentucky Derby Streaming online. But dusting off himself is his favourite part of the sport.  On Sunday, he will ride in five of those six races.

“It certainly beats a 9-to-5 job,” Geraghty said.  “If you love what you do, then it’s not really work now, is it?”

Horses apparent a jump throughout the 2018 Steeplechase of Charleston in Stono Ferry.  File/Lauren Petracca/Staff

Steeplechase jockeys are tough.  They’ve typically been riding for a long time on all sorts of terrain: dirt, grass, mud, just name it.  Some are specialist, but many are amateurs from overseas trying to make a name for themselves stateside.  Watch Kentucky Derby 2020. They’re also heavier than their counterparts that operate on different terrains, and they need to be able to hold on tight while the thoroughbred is jump over a barrier.

 2 jockeys were vying for the honor, but one of them broke his chin in a race this week.  Michael Mitchell, the unscathed rider, made a decision to divide the national title with his competitor.

“When I had been planning to run and win, I wanted to earn it,” Mitchell said.  “In this sport, there is huge risk, particularly with the unpredictability of this.  You are running quickly, you’re jumping high.  It is a really humbling game”

Whilst Steeplechase racing is hard work for jockeys, it is a relaxing spectacle for attendees.

Many flat horse racing tracks are similar to soccer stadiums, where the audience pays attention to their odds novels or watches the race onto a massive LED screen.  When it is a race such as the Preakness Stakes or the Kentucky Derby, half of the crowd might be standing in the infield or slopping in the sand after a lot of mint juleps.

Steeplechase races aren’t like that.

“it is a different experience,” Clippinger said.  “Steeplechase of Charleston is very family-oriented.  Watch Kentucky Derby 2020. It is an experience as much as it’s a horse race.  People are tailgating, the kids are throwing footballs, also it’s a good chance to view horse racing close up”

Toni Sanders of Spartanburg, left, dances by the point during the Steeplechase of Charleston in Stono Ferry on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018.  File/Lauren Petracca/Staff

Audience members can get up close to the rail, and they can summit over as the horses vault and ride the corners onto the turn.

In South Carolina, gambling on horse racing isn’t allowed. Kentucky Derby Streaming online. Still, many believe that steeplechase racing has continued to thrive due to its focus on the sport itself, not the dollars being thrown around for this.

After the Post and Courier purchased the race this year, Evening Post Industries Chairman Pierre Manigault said he wanted to highlight the unique character of steeplechase racing.

“Steeplechase represents the old school of horse racing when owners and coaches had smaller, more intimate stables and raced longer for bragging rights than checks,” he said. Watch Kentucky Derby 2020   “Additionally, they’re usually held in lovely rural, pastoral settings, which makes for a superb day in the country.”  s


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