Willowdale Steeplechase, a spectacular rite of spring, on May 13
- March 24, 2023
- By Staff Writers
KENNETT SQUARE, Pa.--The 30th Anniversary of The Willowdale Steeplechase will take place on Saturday, May 13.
This Chester County tradition is a spectacular rite of spring for enthusiasts from all over the Wilmington and Philadelphia areas and beyond.
Rolling green hills, majestic horses, dedicated horsemen and fashionable tailgate picnics are part of a tradition that has been preserved for generations.
You feel that you’re participating in something extraordinary.
Set on 160 acres in the heart of Pennsylvania’s hunt country, Willowdale attracts the country’s top steeplechase horses, and this year, they’ll compete for $105,000 in prize money.
“Willowdale truly is a community event, “said Chairman Dixon Stroud. “Families from all over the area gather to enjoy a beautiful day in the country, watch the finest horse racing, reconnect with friends…. and show off some impressive hats - all the while helping to preserve our natural resources and support our worthy beneficiaries.”
These beneficiaries are the Stroud™ Water Research Center with its mission to advance knowledge and stewardship of freshwater systems through global research, education, and watershed restoration, and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s (PennVet) New Bolton Center, with its mission to train the next generation of veterinary leaders to advance healthcare outcomes and access, ensure global health and bolster sustainable agriculture practices.
Our beneficiaries are leaders in preserving and safeguarding life in many different ways - so we are calling our fund- raising campaign “Racing for Life”.
Willowdale features two courses set on its rolling turf: one race course features solid post and rail fences and European style hedges, open ditches, and water jumps. The other course consists of natural smaller hurdles which the horses can brush through which are usually ridden at a faster pace.
Unique to this part of the country is Willowdale’s natural amphitheater which allows attendees to follow most of the races’ action from all of the spectating areas.
Each reserved parking space offers panoramic views of the course - whether from high on the hill or right on the rail - and best of all, general admission ticket holders can visit friends and watch the races from a variety of vantage points!
Best Dressed, Hat and Tailgate Contests will add to the usual fun and excitement this year as high fashion, elegant tailgating and a community known for its equestrian excellence join together.
This year’s Tailgate Contest is “Making a Splash!”
Throughout the day there are pony races, Jack Russell Terrier races, an antique car display, upscale boutique shopping and local food vendors.
For the younger guests, we offer a stick pony jumping course, a coloring contest and educational displays by representatives from the Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center and the Stroud™ Water Research Center.
There is truly something here for everyone.
General Admission tickets are on sale now at $45.00 in advance online.
Parking in the General Admission parking lot is free and children under 12 are admitted free of charge.
To purchase general admission tickets, renew your Tailgate Parking or Private Party Paddock Package or purchase a new Parking Package, go to www.willowdale.org .
All tailgate and ticket prices increase by 15% after May 8.
Come to the Willowdale Steeplechase on Saturday, May 13 and celebrate spring in your own steeplechase style.
For additional information on the races and the special events leading up to them, contact the Willowdale Steeplechase office at 610.444.1582 or visit www.willowdale.org.