Skip to main content

Details About Steeplechase Races at Saratoga Race Course

Come and Check out the Steeplechase at Saratoga Race Course

an aerial view of Saratoga Race Course
Photo Credit:

A steeplechase is a race where horses are jumping over a variety of obstacles, usually being fences. The horses that run in steeplechases end to be older and may have run previously in hurdle races.

The distances range between 2 and 4½ miles (3.2 and 7.2 km). The horses clear a variety of obstacles including plain fences, water jumps or open ditches. The fences are a minimum of 4½ feet (1.3m) high.

Chases start from behind tape that stretches across the racecourse. Racers circle their horses then walk to the tapes when told to by the race official. When the tapes are released, the race is off.

This summer, the races featuring steeplechase at the Saratoga Track are July 17th and August 14th. Come to the track either of these dates to check out this amazingly unique racing style!

Some Steeplechase History and Fun Facts

  1. Steeplechase originated in Ireland in the 18th century
  2. The first ever steeplechase race was in 1752 between Cornelius O'Callaghan and Edmund Blake. The race was four miles
  3. Steeplechase jockeys wear special equipment, including certified helmets and chest protectors
  4. Steeplechase fences are made out of a protected steel filled with plastic birch and a foam rubber roll covered with green canvas on the take off side
  5. Steeplechase horses are trained in the country, and they are mostly based in the east coast between Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Tennessee