Family Travel 2011

Megan Sexton

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Get a jump on the Cup at Steeplechase museum

Posted 3/2/2012 1:28:00 PM

The joke about the twice-each-year steeplechase horse races in Camden goes something like this: I went to the Carolina Cup and never saw a horse.

But for horse lovers, particularly those who follow steeplechasing, the races in Camden are as good as it gets. The Carolina Cup takes place at Springdale Race Course, opening the spring party season in South Carolina. The cup has been held each spring since March 1930, and remains one of the country's best attended races.

To get in the mood and learn a little more about the sport, we stopped by the National Steeplechase Museum at the Springdale Race Course.

The first thing we noticed is the life-size bronze statue of the great steeplechase champion, Lonesome Glory standing guard in front of the museum. The horse ran for nine seasons and was the national steeplechase champion an unprecedented five times.

Once inside, you'll see the colorful silks of all of the winners of National Eclipse Awards with their "steeplechaser of the year" since 1948. The jerseys line the high walls of the Great Room. At the other end, the wall of windows look out at the steeplechase training facility. In between, you'll see memorabilia, trophies and photographs telling the story of steeplechase horse racing in the United States. Steeple chasing takes place in 12 states, attracts more than a million fans a year and offers $4.5 million in winnings.

The museum is open 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays from September through May. It's open by appointment only from June through August. The museum is at 200 Knights Hill Road at the Springdale Race Course.