Behind the scenes at the Foxfield 2023 spring races

Published: Apr. 29, 2023 at 6:44 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Hours before the Foxfield races, the horses are in the barn, with everyone together in the horse locker room.

“It’s a competitive sport, but there’s a real comradery. Everybody looks out for each other. The jockey’s give each other advice about the course,” said Jill Byrne with the VA Equine Alliance.

The horses are washed and brushed, and some even get their manes braided. Each horse is then checked by a team of vets.

“Looking for any lumps or bruises or anything that could or anything we need to keep a closer eye on,” Doctor Donovan Dagner said. Then we’ll have them jog up and down and look for anything that would suggest it’s not a good day to race.”

Most jockeys then walk the course beforehand.

“Walking the course is important because you want to see the condition the ground is in. You want to see where the placement of the fences is,” Charlottesville rider Zach Miller said.

The horses are about 8 to 12 years old. Far more mature than the 3-year-olds you see at the Kentucky Derby.

There are only about 150 steeplechase horse races in the United States each year. Two of them happen at Foxfield, those being the spring races and the fall races.

The Foxfield Fall Race will take place on Sunday, October 1.

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