Monday, March 8, 2010

Steeple Chase Time!

My Lady's Manor steeple chase race
Steeple chase season arrives in Maryland on April 10th with the 108th running (that's just over a century to you and me) of the !

J & D have attended each year of their lives; eM and I have attended almost every year since we've been together and I attended with friends many years before that.  It's a fun event, great for people with or without families.  This is one of the few remaining vestiges of my pre-fatherhood days when I still had disposable income.  In fact, it might be the only surviving vestige.

Now the vibe at this race is a little different than the Virginia or International Gold Cups that DC folks are used to.  It's more ancient country manor & LLBean vs. nouveau riche & fancy hats.  Oh you can still find plenty of pompous but most folks are very friendly.

My Lady's Manor steeple chase race
The weather can be a real wild card which is part of the adventure.  It might be really warm or you might get a cold and damp day as we did last year.  Either way, with our little group, the scotch and wine flow, the provisions are abundant and there's even a little friendly wagering among the group.

My Lady's Manor steeple chase race
The location of the race adds to its charm.  In 1713, Charles Calvert, 3rd Baron Baltimore made a gift of this land (10,000 acres) to his fourth wife, Lady Margaret, christening the estate "My Lady's Manor."  The races, which are over wooden fences, or 'timber' began in 1902.  The horses are known as timber horses and/or jumpers.

  • There are no food or drink vendors so be sure to pack sustenance.
  • Bring folding chairs.
  • Keep a close eye on the weather.
  • If it was wet leading up to race day wear good mud boots. Wear comfortable walking shoes regardless - you will be walking through actual fields with actual divots and actual horse droppings.

If you're going to go it's best to fit as many in one car as you can because general parking is $50 and parking prices go up from there.  Once you park you can walk just about anywhere along the course to see the races.  We normally park in a homeowner's yard across from the race entrance.  The price for one of his yard spots has steadily gone up but it's still just under $50.

If you really want to splurge you can buy a parking spot on the rail.  If you do, don't forget to invite your favorite sillyDaddy for a visit (seriously...don't forget...i promise to bring extra scotch)!


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