Local Trainer Preps Barn Full of Horses for 96th Running of the Virginia Gold Cup
Racing will return on Saturday, May 29
One of the nation’s oldest and largest steeplechase events celebrates its 96th anniversary this year on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va. Following a challenging spring last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Gold Cup (normally held each year on the first Saturday in May) is thrilled to run with limited spectators. With a majority of earlier race meets running this season to help prepare the horses, local Middleburg trainer Julie Gomena with Over Creek Farm is looking forward to bringing several to compete at the Virginia Gold Cup.
“I have two new horses this year that I am very excited about,” said Gomena. “Repeat Repeat is a seven-year-old gelding who is one of my favorites. He has only run seven times and has done extremely well every time out. He is a lovely big horse who is a delight to be around. LeChevalier is a 12 year old gelding that will hopefully run in the Virginia Gold Cup Timber Stakes. He has placed in every timber race I’ve run him in except one.”
Gomena began riding in her home state of Oregon before moving to the east coast to train with Olympic three-day event rider Bruce Davidson. Gomena settled in Middleburg, Va. in 1985 to further her career in three-day eventing. In that sport, she excelled as a trainer and rider, winning America’s biggest event, The Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park in 1994 with Treaty. She retired from eventing and moved into steeplechasing, competing as an amateur rider before concentrating on training. Over Creek Farm, located on 285 acres in the heart of horse country, specializes in training steeplechase horses under the guidance of Gomena and her husband, Robert Bonnie.
“With the spring race calendar pushed back due to COVID-19, the horses didn’t have to start training as early as they usually do but now, they are all in fine form, feeling good and on their way to getting racing fit.”
Gomena will also have plenty of young horses make their racing debut at Gold Cup. A total of 70 horses from numerous trainers will come to compete during the seven races scheduled.
“Last year I didn’t allow these less experienced horses to run because of the lack of racing,” said Gomena. “I am thrilled they will now have the opportunity to get more miles under their belts at the Virginia Gold Cup.”
The 96th Annual Running of the Virginia Gold Cup will take place Saturday, May 29, at Great Meadow in The Plains. The first of seven horse races will be underway at 1 p.m. The Virginia Gold Cup Race, presented by the Virginia Gold Cup Association, is the fifth race and takes place at 4 p.m. Tailgate spaces are available now and are sold on a first come, first serve basis by calling 540-347-2612. Guests will be able to choose from Members Hill ($675) or North or South Rail ($500). Each socially distance space is 12’ x 20’ and allows for a maximum of 10 people per space. Each space includes 10 wristbands, one tailgate car pass and two general admission car passes.
For more information visit vagoldcup.com. The website will be updated as additional information becomes available.
The 2021 Virginia Gold Cup Races are presented by Brown Advisory, the Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the Virginia Thoroughbred Association, Virginia Equine Alliance and the Virginia Breeders Fund.