AIKEN — The slogan for the Aiken Fall Steeplechase is “See Horses Fly,” but there is much more to do than just watch some of the nation’s top hurdlers and turf horses.
The 22nd running will be held Saturday at Ford Conger Field, and a field of 44 horses will compete in five races.
The Aiken Steeplechase Association has several events planned for before and between the races to keep fans of all ages entertained, according to event coordinator Mia Miller.
They include the Village of Shops, Paddock Playground, stickhorse races, carriage parade and a hat contest.
Gates open at 9:30 a.m., and post time is 1 p.m.
In addition to the Village of Shops, which offers vendors a chance to sell merchandise, the Paddock Playground will offer games for children to play. Thirteen nonprofit agencies will each have a dedicated space.
“It’s an opportunity for them to gain exposure for their organization,” Miller said. “It’s really neat.”
The carriage parade will be held after the first race, and the hat contest will be held after the third race.
The featured race is the Budweiser Holiday Cup. The $25,000 race will be 2 1/4 miles over fences.
Cat Feathers, owned and trained by Kate Dalton, is one of eight horses vying for the Budweiser Holiday Cup. Cat Feathers is the 2012 National Steeplechase Association filly and mare champion. Cat Feathers will be ridden by Dalton’s husband, Bernard.
Darkwatch, also ridden by Bernard Dalton, won the Budweiser Holiday Cup in 2012 but is entered in the final race of the day and not the featured one.