The Georgia Steeplechase 2018 Debut
Saturday April 7, 2018 was the official running of the inaugural Georgia Steeplechase. An ambitious project taken on by Anthony-Scott and Phoebe Hobbs, who, along with numerous others, wanted to ensure the tradition remain part of Georgia history. It was a huge task to take on and with only four short months to pull it off it was a learning experience with much to improve upon for 2019. Fortunately, all the races went off without a hitch – the most important part of the day, since without the horses and riders, there is no steeplechase. It was good to hear from the jockeys and teams that the races went off beautifully, smooth and trouble free. For a new organization hosting its inaugural race, that is a triumph in itself.
Despite morning rain, wind and unseasonal cold in Rome, Georgia—the high was only in the mid-fifties but felt much colder! — die-hard Steeplechase fans turned out in their hats and finery to enjoy the many tent parties as well as to enjoy parties of their on with picnics and libations at their tailgate spaces. All to enjoy a wonderful day at the races. The event began with the new Brunch on the Backstretch, an affair that combined enjoyable cuisine and political networking – born from the Hobbs’ 12-year-old tradition of hosting family and friends. Afterward the main event Georgia Steeplechase began.
The Atholl Highlanders, Atlanta’s busiest Bagpipe Band, opened the ceremonies, followed by the presentation of colors by the Rome Young Marines who did an outstanding job in their debut. Callista Clark, a mere 14, sang the National Anthem, and the Shakerag Out Riders cleared the track. Delicious foods provided by Catered Southern Events and flowing drinks entertained attendees in the Chairman’s Pavilion, Brunch on the Backstretch, the OTR and Official Tents. Harvest Moon in Rome served the Pre-Party guests in the Guarantor’s Tent. Despite the chill, the aire was festive with the races taking center stage.
Four races took place during the Georgia Steeplechase with each running two miles over national hurdles. The first, the Maiden Claiming Hurdle, was won by Gotta Get Away under rider Michael Mitchell. The first place in the second race, Sport of Kings Maiden Hurdle sponsored by the Cartersville-Bartow CVB, went to Go Get the Basil under jockey Ross Geraghty. Bullet Star won the McPherson Filly & Mare Maiden Hurdle under jockey Kieran Norris, and the final race – presenting the first Georgia Cup – was won by Barnacle Bill under rider Jack Doyle.
The Georgia Steeplechase Association looks forward to using all they have learned in their first meet to make the 2019 meet even better. Planning has already begun for next year and stay tuned for numerous events that will take place this year for our sponsors and charity partners. Keep an eye on the organization’s website, georgiasteeplechase.org, and for emails with more information.