“We’re expecting our biggest field of horses in probably 10 years,” said Executive Director Jean Bird.
The racing takes place at Kingston Downs, off U.S. 411 east of Rome. After storms in the past few years put a damper on the races, Bird said this year’s event could break record attendance numbers.
“We are so excited about the weather,” Bird said. “Last year there was a tornado right before the event and the year before it rained the entire time. We couldn’t be more thrilled about the forecast and our office is just abuzz with ticket sales.”
Proceeds from the event will benefit Camp Southern Ground Inc., a camp that helps children overcome social, academic and emotional obstacles, as well as the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine.
Bird said they are excited to have the Coca-Cola Company and Ferrari Maserati of Atlanta sponsoring the event. Additionally, the Kentucky Derby is a highlighted sponsor this year and will be raffling off tickets for an all-inclusive trip to the Kentucky Derby.
“Raffle tickets will be on sale at the event,” said Bird. “The winners will be announced that same day.”
With all races sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Foundation, the top Steeplechasers in the country are expected to exhibit their skills. There will be four races over brush jumps and one turf race with no jumps.
Before the Steeplechase race begins, the Peoplechase 5K Canter, the event’s 5K race, will begin at 11 a.m., with runners running on the same track as the jockeys.
Patrons will be able to picnic and tailgate and enjoy the races in a country setting.
The traditional hat contest and the parade of hats will be presented by the Kentucky Derby. Other events planned are the Jack Russell terrier races, pony rides, hayrides, camel rides, rock climbing and shopping in the infield.
The gates will open at 9 a.m., and Bird said tickets can be bought up until Friday at 10 a.m. General admission tickets are listed for $30 on ticketmaster.com and can be purchased by phone at 404-237-7436. Children 12 and younger are admitted free.
Ticket outlets include the Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau and Harvest Moon in Rome. For more information and a complete schedule visit www.atlantasteeplechase.org.