Six races to kick off steeplechase season in Aiken

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The 46th running of the Aiken Steeplechase will go on rain or shine on Saturday, but Girl Wolcott is hoping for the latter.

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Bernard Dalton (center) rode Golden Slammer to victory in the third race at the 2011 Aiken Steeplechase. The 46th running will be held Saturday.    MICHAEL HOLAHAN/FILE
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/FILE
Bernard Dalton (center) rode Golden Slammer to victory in the third race at the 2011 Aiken Steeplechase. The 46th running will be held Saturday.

Wolcott, the daughter of one of the event’s founders, Ford Conger, said railside parking and premium spaces are sold out. But auxiliary parking and walkup tickets, for general admission and subscribers, are still available.

“It’s always great to say we’re sold out,” said Wolcott, who acknowledged that the forecast is calling for rain on Saturday.

The first event on the National Steeplechase Association circuit features six races and a total of 40 horses.

“Depending on how training went over the winter, that’s what we get,” Wolcott said. “We have a lot of maiden horses and a couple of maiden claiming races. Aiken’s a great place to bring along the youngsters.”

The featured race, the $50,000 Budweiser Imperial Cup, will have only three entrants after Royal Rossi was scratched. Pullyourfingerout, Birthday Beau and Class Indian will compete in the 2-mile race over national fences.

Wolcott said the races were adjusted a couple of years ago to compensate for it being the first event of the season.

Other events planned for Saturday include the Village of Tents, which is sold out for vendors, and a carriage parade after the first race.

Wolcott said a lottery was held for 12 available railside spots earlier this year, and 300 people lined up for a chance.

“We’re getting to be a little bit like Masters tickets,” she said.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Aiken Steeplechase

WHERE: Ford Conger Field, Aiken

WHEN: Gates open at 9:30 a.m.; post time for first race is 1 p.m.

TICKETS: General admission is $20 and subscriber tickets are $25 on race day.

PARKING: Auxiliary parking will be available on race day. All railside spots have been sold. For more information call the Aiken Steeplechase Association at (803) 648-9641.


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