We’re thrilled that you’ll be joining us for the Willowdale Steeplechase Races! To help you make the most of your day, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions along with some helpful tips:
  • Races run rain or shine – dress accordingly.

    It’s advisable to bring layers and a couple of shoe choices or waterproof boots. The event is held outdoors, so consider practical footwear for walking on grassy terrain. Spike heels are not recommended!

  • Dress to impress.

    Hats are encouraged and great for keeping the sun out of your eyes. Don’t forget your sunscreen! Feel free to participate in our hat and best-dressed contests if you’re feeling stylish.

  • What will you see?

    Get ready for an exhilarating day with six exciting horse races over various jumps (brush, timber, and hurdles), pony races, a young riders’ race, and even thrilling Jack Russell Terrier races. Please note that this is the only time spectators are allowed on the course, and you must leave immediately following the last Jack Russell Terrier races.

  • Activities for children.

    Bring your little ones to the Kid’s Alley tent, where they can create and race stick ponies and enjoy fun educational activities hosted by race beneficiaries – all free of charge.

  • Why do we have the races?

    The Willowdale Steeplechase exists to raise funds for our two beneficiaries: The Stroud Water Research Center and the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine – The New Bolton Center. We are a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

  • May I bring my own food or alcohol?

    Absolutely! You are welcome to bring your own food and beverages, including beer. However, please note that wine or spirits are not available for sale on-site.

  • Are pets welcome?

    Yes, but please keep your furry friends on a leash at all times and be sure to bring water for them.

  • Where do I park if I’m invited to a sponsor tent?

    You have a few options: General Admission Parking off of Route 926 (free), Preferred Parking ($50, must be purchased in advance), or Sponsor Parking if you have a sponsor parking pass. Everyone, regardless of where you park, must have a general admission pass to be on the grounds. Children aged 12 and under enter for free.

  • Will I need cash?

    It’s a good idea to have some cash on hand for food purchases and Willowdale merchandise. While most vendors accept credit cards, cash is always convenient.

  • Is it permitted to stand along the fence?

    Yes, you are welcome to stand along the fence to watch the races, but please be mindful not to block the view of the tailgate parking patrons.

  • Am I allowed to visit other parking areas?

    Absolutely! You are free to visit all parking areas. This privilege is unique to Willowdale.

  • How close can I get to the horses and jockeys?

    While unauthorized individuals are not allowed on the course, be sure to visit the Paddock area (while staying outside the fence) to get a close-up view of the horses and jockeys preparing for the race. You can also witness the trophy presentations to the jockeys and owners after each race in the Winners Circle, which is in the Paddock area.

  • Where are the antique cars?

    The antique cars are parked West of parking area The Turn, along Rt 82.

  • What happens if a horse is hurt?

    We prioritize the safety of the horses. An equine veterinarian and horse ambulance are present on the race course to assess and provide care in case of injury.

  • How do you get to be a jockey?

    Keep an eye on the next generation of future jockeys as they begin their journey on the US pony racing circuit. It’s a thrilling experience to witness young talents as they hone their skills and aspire to become the jockeys of the future.

  • How old are the horses?

    Horses typically range in age from 3 to 12 years old. Consult the race program (Race Day Program Key) for more information about the horses and jockeys.

  • What is a hurdle?

    A hurdle is an artificial hedge jump made by the National Steeplechase Association and used in steeplechase racing.

  • What is a timber fence?

    A timber fence is a jump made out of wooden rails, often used in steeplechase races.

  • What does “brush” mean?

    “Brush” refers to a natural living hedge jump or bows cut from a live hedge, commonly used in steeplechase racing.

  • How fast do the horses run?

    Steeplechase horses typically run at speeds of about 30 miles per hour, which is slower than flat racehorses. Think of jump racing as more of a long-distance race compared to flat racing, which is run over shorter distances at higher speeds.

  • How can I get a reserved tailgating space?

    Tailgate spots can be purchased on our website under "Attend > Buy Ticket Here" while online tickets sales are live. To receive ticket information in advance please "Sign up for Willowdale Steeplechase Emails" in the footer of the website