Originally created 10/25/02

Races will showcase top riders of season



AIKEN - This year's three best riders will be among the competitors in the Aiken Fall Steeplechase, scheduled for Saturday at Ford Conger Field.

The jockeys are Dave Bentley, Gus Brown and Rob Massey, with 14, 13 and 12 sanctioned wins for the season, respectively.

The men and their horses will face off in the $20,000 featured race along with six other entrants.

According to the National Steeplechase Association's Web site on Thursday, Mr. Bentley will ride Star Tide on behalf of Aiken's Stonerside Stable in the featured race.

"It's going to be interesting to see who's going to be the leading jockey of the year," said Joe Clancy, the editor of Steeplechase Times. "We've got 10 guys within five wins of each other."

In addition to the steeplechase, in which riders must clear jumps, two flat races will round out the six-race card.

For the races Saturday - where attendance is expected to number about 6,000, according to organizers - the weather is forecast to be clear and mild, with a high of 70 degrees and a low of 52.

As usual, traffic congestion is expected to be an issue in the area of Powderhouse Road and Audubon Drive.

According to the Aiken Department of Public Safety, a new traffic flow plan has been instituted this year, and taking the correct route to one's gate will keep motorists from experiencing significant delays.

Guarantors, outside rail package holders, second-row subscribers, officials and horsemen must enter the green gate by getting on Powderhouse Road at Pine Log Road.

Village of Shops vendors, those with general admission inside rail packages and people seeking general admission on race day must enter the red gate on Audubon Drive from either direction on Two Notch Road.

Inside subscribers and those with general admission outside rail packages must enter through the blue gate on Audubon Drive from the South Boundary Avenue side of Powderhouse Road.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: 11th running of the Aiken Fall Steeplechase

WHEN: Saturday, post time 1 p.m.

WHERE: Ford Conger Field at Aiken Horse Park

TICKETS AND PARKING: General admission railside packages ($75, includes two tickets); general admission tickets ($8 advance, $10 race day); subscriber railside packages ($150, includes four tickets); subscriber admission tickets ($10 advance); general parking ($5)

AVAILABILITY: Railside packages and subscriber admission tickets can be purchased until 4 p.m. today at the Steeplechase Association offices, Two Notch Road.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: (803) 648-9641

Reach Eric Williamson at (803) 279-6895 or eric.williamson@augustachronicle.com.