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Fedoras & Fascinators Cash-In At 88th VA Gold Cup Races; 'Pari-Mutuel' Betting Makes Its Debut

By Daniel Swartz on May 6, 2013
Be sure to check out all 182 of our photographs from this event HERE!
The Guest List:
Aastha Verma, Adair Hendrickson, Alex Gagné, Alex Schauffler, Alexandra Botwinick, Alexandra Yeager: 1 | 2 | 3, Alia Shmia, Alyssa Farah, Amanda Carrie, Amanda Franklin: 1 | 2, Andrew Hunter, Andrew Meehan: 1 | 2, Andrew Mills, Ashli Edmund: 1 | 2 | 3, Atila Omer: 1 | 2 | 3, Bennett Richardson: 1 | 2 | 3, Brian Marshall Johnson: 1 | 2 | 3, Brian McClintock, Brooke A. Henderson, Brooks C.M. Weilbacher, Cameron Pelliconi, Catherine Pitcher: 1 | 2, Charlotte de Sibert, Cherie Short: 1 | 2, Chris Roemer, Christopher Chip Dent, Claire Burghoff: 1 | 2, Courtney Gaine, Courtney Stecker, Dan Hartenstine, Daniel Swartz: 1 | 2, Danielle Kambic, Darcy Gill, David H. Miller, David Tafuri, Dimple Shah, Donna Donella, Doug Quarles, Emily Hoxworth, Emma Battaglia, Eric Lund: 1 | 2, Eric Neuhaus: 1 | 2, Fritz Brogan, Gabby Gordon, German Vivas, Holly Johnson, Jacqueline Akoko: 1 | 2, Jamie Carroll, Jamie Grigg, Jamie McInerney, Jamie Morris, Janine Pesusich, Jeanne Marie Shewmaker, Jeff Gregorio, Jennifer Utz, Jessica James Golden, Jon Edwards: 1 | 2, Jordan Haas: 1 | 2 | 3, Judy Mayka, Julia Berg, Julie Reusche, Juliet Kline, Justin Lange, Kaitlyn Reilly: 1 | 2, Karlie Blattner: 1 | 2, Keri Ann Meslar, Kirstin Doyle, Kristen Michele: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4, Kristen Topping, Kristina Palangi: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4, Laura Dunn, Laura Zobor, Lauren Moore, Lauren Spivey, Lauri Tamney, Leigh Anne Arnold, Lindsey Rohrig, Liz Owens, Lynda Erkiletian: 1 | 2, Maggie Johnson, Makeda Saggau-Sackey, Margaret Taylor, Marisa Cattoi, Marybeth Coleman, Matt Serenius, Matt Vredenburgh, Merin Yu: 1 | 2, Mike Ferraguto, Nick Hunter, Pat Casey, Paul Holder, Peter White, Rachel Ariel White, Rachel MacKay: 1 | 2, Rachel McLocklin, Rachel Williams: 1 | 2, Ray Regan, Roman Jankowski: 1 | 2, Ryan Seelbach, Ryan Young, Sam Sterling: 1 | 2 | 3, Sarah Neils, Sarah Nichols, Sim Khan, Sondra Ortagus, Stacy Hadeka, Steph Laurine: 1 | 2, Stephanie Ajello, Stephanie Bernardi, Sylvia Augustyn, Tara Gabaldon: 1 | 2, Taylor Brown, Tom Qualtere, Tom Snedeker, Toni Henderson, Trevor W. Santos, Win Huffman, Wright Sigmund, Zack Dugan, Zoe Stathopoulos
THE PLAINS, Va. -- Drawing some 50,000 individuals to Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia each year, the Virginia Gold Cup is a long-standing area tradition among Washingtonians.

Now celebrating its 88th anniversary, Saturday's 2013 outing took advantage of the near perfect weather to continue the steeplechase races' winning streak for drawing a near record-setting audience.

Speaking of winning, the exciting news to emerge in the weeks leading up to this year's Gold Cup was the approval of pari-mutuel betting, thereby making the spring races and sister International Gold Cup in the fall the only two steeplechases in Virginia to offer (legal) wagering.

One thing that wasn't left to chance by the weekend's attendees was the desire to show-off their race-day finest, with an overwhelming abundance of fascinators, fedoras, bowties, and pastel-colored apparel on display.

Helping encourage such creative sartorial demonstrations was an official best hat competition, which itself was accompanied by a companion tailgate contest to uncover the day's most gracious hosts.

Indeed, given the colorful and exuberant nature of the occasion and the many surrounding activities, many guests never even find the time to witness an actual race!

Held every year on the first Saturday in May, the Virginia Gold Cup is the state's equivalent of the Kentucky Derby and takes place amidst a spectacular countryside backdrop, in the heart of horse country, set at the footsteps to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The races enjoy longstanding support from a variety of blue chip corporate sponsors, including BMW, United Airlines, M.C. Dean, and Merck to name but a few.

Still dozens more area businesses and organizations use Gold Cup as a tent pole event to wine and dine family, friends, and clients, with everyone from popular D.C. restaurants (e.g., Town Hall) to exclusive night clubs (e.g., The Huxley) to nonprofits (e.g., The Capital Club, Becky's Fund) hosting their own tents and hiring their own bus motorcades to ferry attendees about.

The popularity of some tents is so great and their buffet and bar spreads so lavish that they are oftentimes forced to hire off-duty uniformed police officers to keep out party crashers.

That's why the Virginia Gold Cup is one of the gold standards among springtime social events.

Be sure to check out all 182 of our photographs from this event HERE!
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