A newbie's guide to the Charleston Cup Steeplechase 

Race Day

It’s been eight years since the Charleston Cup brought horse racing to the Lowcountry, so it’s understandable if locals are a bit rusty on race-day etiquette. We spoke with race director Karl McMillan to get the DL on the CC.

The cool thing about this Stono Ferry event is that it attracts all sorts of folks, from well-heeled Southern gentry to beer-swilling good ole boys and girls. “It really runs the gamut,” McMillan says. “You’ll see people in blue jeans eating boiled peanuts next to people in mink coats eating caviar.” If you’ve got the budget, you can rent a tent with tables, chairs, and linens and host a proper catered event for a few thousand bones. Infield parking spaces for prime tailgating will run you $200-$300, but general admission tickets are just $25, or $30 at the gate, plus $10 to park. Bring a chair or blanket because there are no grandstands.

Some people go to races like this and never even see a horse because they’re so busy partying, so food and drink are of the utmost importance. Vendors will be selling food at the event, including Hubee D’s, Duke’s Barbecue, and the Magic Cheese Truck. You can also bring your own food — think warm, finger-friendly picnic fare like fried chicken and brats. Beverages, on the other hand, will not be for sale, and there are no restrictions on alcohol so load up on beer, champagne, bourbon, or whatever strikes your fancy.

As for what to wear, this ain’t the Carolina Cup and this ain’t April. It’s November, so leave the seersucker suits and sundresses at home and dress for the season. Duck boots, blazers, and corduroys will keep you cozy and stylish. Hats are a given at a distinctly Southern event like this, but again, keep it seasonal with a warm fedora or even something furry. Since this is a rain-or-shine event, be sure to bring a poncho if there’s a chance of inclement weather.

Find out more and buy tickets at charlestoncup.net.

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