Only a handful of spectators were allowed to attend this year’s Triple Crown races: The Belmont Stakes, The Derby, and The Preakness. If you missed the thrill of being at the track in person, then this bugle call is for you. On Sunday, November 15th, get your fill of thoroughbreds, fascinators, and strong beverages at The Steeplechase of Charleston. This all-day affair features five high-stakes races and is a splendid way to spend a gorgeous autumn day outdoors.


If you are unfamiliar with steeplechase, it’s a distance horse race during which the competitors jump obstacles. The name comes from early contests in Ireland from one church steeple to another. Typical race length is between 4 and 6 miles, longer than flat races which are usually .6 to 1 mile. The number of obstacles and distance between them varies from race to race. Most of the jockeys hail from Europe, England, and Ireland.


Up until the Civil War, Charleston was the mecca of horse racing for the entire country. Our annual steeplechase event dates back to 1792. It’s fitting that the current iteration closes out the national steeplechase fall racing circuit each year.


So what can you expect this year? The organizers are focusing on the fundamentals: world-class equine athleticism enjoyed by intimate gatherings of friends and family. Ticket sales will be limited to 50% capacity and there are no will-call, general admission, or single tickets this year, only tailgating groups. Each dedicated tailgate space will accommodate a group of five – your “social party pod” for the day. Bring your best spread and BYOB.

Gates open at 8:00 a.m. People usually start lining up an hour before. The races do not start until 1:00 p.m., so there is plenty of time to arrive, unpack, and shop before the horses run. Shop? Oh yes, take advantage of early holiday shopping by visiting the Vendor Village – filled with luxury items from Lowcountry shops, vendors, and artisans. (All transactions will be touchless.)

There’s no such thing as overdressed, so don’t disappoint. See you at the races!

Address: Stono Ferry Race Track, 5000 Old York Crse, Hollywood, SC 29449-5851