Your Complete Guide to This Year’s Races in the Main Line Region

Featured photo by Tisa Della-Volpe

Race season is here! Get ready for some of the best races in the Main Line region with our complete guide for the year.

45th Annual Point-to-Point at Winterthur

Sunday, May 7, 2023

steeplechase races
Photo by Tisa Della-Volpe

10:30 a.m.

• Gates open.
• Marketplace: Shop for hats, clothing, jewelry, accessories and more.
• Winterthur Hunt: Enjoy special activities, crafts and contests provided by community organizations.
• Keystone Region Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club Antique Auto Display

11:45 a.m.

- Advertisement -

• Delaware State Police Pipes and Drums

Noon

• Alison Hershbell Pony Races

12:30 p.m.

• Parade of River Hills Foxhounds

- Partner Content -

1 p.m.

• George A. “Frolic” Weymouth Antique Carriage Parade

1:30 p.m.

• Tailgate Picnic Competition Presentation
• Stick Horse Races (ages 4 and under)

1:50 p.m.

- Advertisement -

• National Anthem sung by Chloe Abel

2 p.m.

• First race: Isabella du Pont Sharp Memorial Maiden Timber Race ($20,000 purse).

2:15 p.m.

• Stick Horse Races (ages 5–7)

2:30 p.m.

• Second race: Winterthur Bowl Open Timber Stakes ($25,000 purse)

2:45 p.m.

• Stick Horse Races (ages 8–10)

3 p.m.

• Third race: Vicmead Plate Amateur Apprentice Timber Race in honor of Louis “Paddy” Neilson III ($15,000 purse)

3:30 p.m.

• Fourth race: Middletown Cup Amateur Training Flat Race

3:45 p.m.

• Presentation of the Greta Brown Layton Trophy

4 p.m.

• Gates close.

Schedule subject to change.
5101 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, Delaware. Visit winterthur.org/ptp.

horse races
Photo by Tisa Della-Volpe

30th Running of the Willowdale Steeplechase

Saturday, May 13, 2023

10 a.m.

• Gates open. Welcome and announcements.

10:30 a.m.

• Jack Russell Terrier Races

11:30 a.m.

• Pony Races

Noon

• Judging begins for Tailgate, Hat and Best-Dressed Contests.

12:30 p.m.

• National Anthem

1 p.m.

• First race: Apprentice Rider Hurdle: Liam Magee Apprentice Rider Race (12:30 p.m. paddock time)

1:30 p.m.

• Second race: Maiden Claiming Hurdle: The Folly (1 p.m. paddock time)

2 p.m.

• Third race: Ratings Handicap Hurdle: The Rose Tree Cup (1:30 p.m. paddock time)

2:30 p.m.

• Fourth race: Amateur Timber Stakes: The Buttonwood/Sycamore Farms Willowdale Steeplechase Stakes (2 p.m. paddock time)

3 p.m.

• Fifth race: Maiden Timber: The Landhope Cup (2:30 p.m. paddock time)

3:30 p.m.

• Sixth race: Amateur Apprentice Timber: The Marshall W. Jenney Memorial Foxhunter’s Chase (3 p.m. paddock time)

5:30 p.m.

• Gates close.

101 E. Street Road, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. Visit willowdale.org.

horse races
Photo by Bob Plant

92ND Radnor Hunt Races

Saturday, May 20, 2023

9:00 a.m.

• Gates open

11 a.m.

• Lead Line Pony Race

Noon-2:00 p.m.

• Picnic Tailgate Competition

1 p.m.

• Mounted Color Guard of the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry and the National Anthem (Orpheus Club of Philadelphia)

1:30 p.m.

• First race: the Milfern Cup

2:10 p.m.

• Second race: the Thompson Memorial Steeplechase

2:25 p.m.

• Carriage Parade

2:50 p.m.

• Third race: the Radnor Hunt Cup

3:30 p.m.

• Fourth race: the National Hunt Cup

3:45 p.m.

• Parade of the Radnor Hunt Foxhounds

4:10 p.m.

• Fifth race: the Henry Collins

4:50 p.m.

• The Katherine W. Illoway Invitational Sidesaddle Race

Schedule subject to change.
826 Providence Road, Malvern, Pennsylvania, (610) 388-8383, radnorhuntraces.org.

Point-to-Point at Winterthur

The Race

For more than 40 years, Delaware has celebrated its own version of the Kentucky Derby each May. Winterthur’s largest single-day fundraiser, Point-to-Point supports maintenance and preservation of the garden and estate. The annual event was spearheaded in 1978 by Greta “Greets” Layton, who grew up around horses and steeplechasing. Searching for a way to utilize the nearly 1,000 acres of the estate, the trustees decided to present a day of racing in the tradition of the 18th and 19th centuries. Drawing on the knowledge of Russell B. Jones Jr., Louis “Paddy” Neilson III and other local horsemen, Layton launched the organizational effort. The first weekend in May seemed an ideal time for the race, as it didn’t conflict with other area equestrian events that already featured prominently in sporting and social calendars. It also rounded out a series of race meets hosted by the Delaware Valley Point-to-Point Association.

Winterthur tractors cut a course through a former cow pasture. and 7,000 spectators, mostly horsemen and their families and friends, saw the first running on May 6, 1979. Today, Point-to-Point at Winterthur is known for its lavish tailgate picnics, high-stepping carriage horses, and stylish spectators. In the early years, winners of the five races were awarded trophies modeled after notable pieces of silver in the Winterthur collection. Races were named after people and organizations familiar to Winterthur supporters and area residents: the Isabella du Pont Sharp Memorial, the Vicmead Plate, the Middletown Cup, the Winterthur Bowl, and the Crowninshield Plate. In honor of Greets Layton, a trophy is awarded to the owner, trainer or rider who accumulates the most points.

In 2006, the Delaware Legislature passed a law that allowed Winterthur to offer cash purses, and Point-to-Point became sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association. The course is a challenging one, with a total of eight fences that are jumped 17 times, covering approximately three and 1/8 miles.

The Beneficiary

Located on beautiful Kennett Pike outside Wilmington, Delaware, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library encompasses nearly 1,000 acres of quintessential Brandywine Valley landscape, 60 acres of world-class gardens, and a stunning mansion featuring the most significant collection of American decorative arts in the world. From the mid-18th century to the late 1960s, Winterthur was home to three generations of the du Pont family. The museum was founded by collector and horticulturalist Henry Francis du Pont in what had been his childhood home, which he expanded to its current size of 175 rooms displaying furniture, home accessories, and works of art made or used in America from 1640 to 1860.

Du Pont also designed the 60-acre Winterthur Garden. With its harmonious color and successive blooms year-round, it’s one of the oldest existing naturalistic gardens in North America. The Winterthur Library, an independent research library with a world-class collection, is dedicated to the understanding and the appreciation of artistic, cultural, social and intellectual history of the Americas in a global context from the 17th to the 20th centuries. In partnership with the University of Delaware, Winterthur also offers two graduate programs focused on the study of art conservation and American material culture.

Winterthur hosts films, musical performances, lectures and other programs. Among its popular family programs are annual events like June’s Enchanted Summer Day and October’s Truck and Tractor Day. Winterthur also hosts the summertime Artisan Market, featuring the region’s talented craftspeople, and the Delaware Antiques Show, a top-ranked weekend-long fall event. The Yuletide Tour, a beloved Brandywine Valley holiday tradition, depicts American holiday celebrations of the past, along with the customs of the du Ponts. The museum store offers unique home décor, gifts, jewelry, books and more, all celebrating Winterthur’s collections, indoors and out.

Visit winterthur.org.

garden
Winterthur Garden. Photo by Jeannette Lindvig.

Willowdale Steeplechase

The Race

This is a major year for the Willowdale Steeplechase as it celebrates the 30th anniversary of a long-beloved Chester County event. Willowdale will be “Racing for Life” on the second Saturday in May at their spectacularly beautiful race course on Street Road in Kennett Square. As always, they will feature six exciting steeplechase races—and this year, there are new opportunities for spectator tailgating and viewing.

Since its inception in 1993, the event has raised over $1.3 million for local charities. Race founder W.B. Dixon Stroud Jr.—who’d competed at the highest levels in steeplechase and polo—decided it was time to have a top-notch steeplechase event in the heart of Chester County’s Cheshire Hunt Country. Combining his love for the sport and his commitment to the community, Stroud enlisted the help of many others for the inaugural running of the Willowdale Steeplechase in 1993.

The event features a world-class course incorporating timber fences, natural hedges and two water jumps. For the 30th running, Willowdale welcomes back the Pony Races, the Jack Russell Terrier Races, the antique car exhibit, boutique shopping, food vendors, and the fun and educational Kid’s Alley. There’s something for everyone at Willowdale.

Family and friends can pack their picnics, put on their best hats and race outfits and enjoy the fun of the tailgate, hat and best-dressed competitions. As a special perk this year, on Mother’s Day only, you can present your Willowdale ticket at Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library and receive the discounted group rate.

The options are many for anyone looking to enjoy the 30th anniversary celebration, whether it’s general admission, tailgate parking, or in the Private Party Paddocks.

The Willowdale Steeplechase is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit based in Kennett Square. Their mission is to raise funds for two world-class organizations. Their donations to the Stroud Water Research Center and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine’s New Bolton Center assist these organizations in their work to support and sustain life on the planet through clean-water research and the advancement of veterinary medicine.

The Beneficiaries

You may or may not know their purpose, but on a drive through the southeastern Pennsylvania region, you’re sure to encounter green tubes dotting the landscape, most likely close to a stream or river, perhaps with a sign and a logo bearing the name Stroud Water Research Center.

The Stroud Center, a global nonprofit focused exclusively on fresh water, is headquartered along White Clay Creek in Avondale, Pennsylvania, and has been working diligently to study and protect streams and rivers for more than 55 years through research, education and watershed restoration.

Long-term research studies conducted by Stroud Center scientists and their peers have shown that forests and other plantings along streams protect the life-sustaining waters from adjacent land use and provide additional benefits. Trees filter pollution, reduce flooding and stream-bank erosion, keep waters shaded and cooler for brook trout and other stream life, and provide essential nutrients from leaf litter and woody debris. Native trees and shrubs protect and enhance your property while creating important habitat for songbirds, butterflies, fish, and other wildlife.

So back to those green tubes: What exactly is their purpose? Though tree tubes are less bucolic, their temporary use protects the young trees that are growing inside them. Without the tubes, deer munch on the tasty young seedlings, and bucks like to scrape their antlers on them, unintentionally killing the fragile and immature trees. The tubes also provide a barrier against competing plants. As the trees grow sturdy and large, they burst out of the tubes, which are no longer needed, resulting in the beautiful forests that gave Penn’s Woods its name. The tubes dramatically increase the number of trees that reach maturity.

Water research center
Tree tubes protect the young trees growing inside them. Courtesy of Stroud Water Research Center.

More than 40 years ago, an unsuccessful tree planting led Bern Sweeney, then executive director of the Stroud Center, to look to colleagues from across the Atlantic for ideas. The first tree tube made its way from England, and the side-by-side method trials that continue to this day began. The result of that first planting: The trees without tubes didn’t survive that first year due to stressors from water, deer browse and wind. The survival rate among the trees planted with tubes was much higher—closer to 70%. Since those initial trials, planting trees with tubes has been adopted widely as a best practice for afforestation.

As the Stroud Center plants tens of thousands of trees each year in watersheds throughout the tristate area, its research and watershed restoration teams continue to collect data from side-by-side trials to help landowners successfully plant trees on their properties. Some recent and ongoing studies have looked at the use of stone mulch around the base of tree tubes to eliminate competing plants, newly launched biodegradable tubes, fiberglass stakes in flood-prone areas, and more.

Do you want to get involved in a restoration project? Please reach out to Stroud Water Research Center, which has funding and resources available to help you. By planting trees on your property, you’ll be joining the many people who’ve chosen to protect local streams for your community and downstream neighbors. Remember, as the American poet, teacher and abolitionist Lucy Larcom once said, “He who plants a tree, plants a hope.”

Visit stroudcenter.org/restoration or email buffers@stroudcenter.org.

Productive farms and a healthy environment should not be mutually exclusive ends. Yet sometimes they seem that way. On the one hand, the need for more food production is unrelenting. The human population is expected to approach 10 billion by 2050, and malnutrition is rampant, particularly in the Global South. “There’s this huge discrepancy around the world when it comes to caloric intake and malnutrition, and studies show that one of the best ways to reverse those unwanted conditions is providing access to animal protein,” says Dr. Thomas Parsons, Marie A. Moore Professor of Animal Welfare and Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. “That’s the backdrop against which we’re working.”

On the other hand, we know that livestock agriculture is a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. It’s responsible for 11.2% of U.S. emissions and 10–12% of global emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, respectively. The emissions arise mainly from fertilizer application, manure management and direct release from cattle. Meanwhile, land conversions for agriculture promote deforestation, which is a major contributor to climate change and biodiversity loss.

steeplechase races
(From left) CSAFS leaders Zhengxia Dou, Laurel Redding, Meghann Pierdon, Dipti Pitta and Tom Parsons.

At Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, the newly launched Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security is taking on what Parsons, the center’s director, calls “a generational challenge.” “There’s a tension between two pressures that agriculture faces,” he says. “One is to be more environmentally friendly. The second is to go and feed the world. Our center will be one of the few that’s focusing on both of these directives at the same time.”

A working vision statement for the center is “to make animal agriculture part of the solution to a more resilient, sustainable, and equitable future,” says Parsons. The center views stewardship agriculture as a vehicle to promote the responsible use of resources entrusted to farmers to make food, including air, water, land, animals and people. While attending to animal health, productivity and welfare—longtime strengths of Penn Vet—the new center will support and forge connections with a robust research community focused on the relationships between animal agriculture and ecosystems and public health, soil science, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.

“If you look at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, it’s clear that agriculture impacts every one of them,” says Dr. Andrew Hoffman, the Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Penn Vet. “The way we conduct agriculture, everything we do in terms of the actual practice and policies around markets—these all impact sustainability goals.”

As experts in animal health and welfare, veterinarians and veterinary scientists are uniquely positioned to find solutions that help farmers feed the world, and do it sustainably. “Simply put, we have a climate crisis and we have a food security crisis,” says Hoffman. “And we’ll only succeed if we adapt and innovate to address both.”

Innovation is nothing new at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center. Its campus is rich with expertise and has a track record of fostering advancements in dairy production, swine welfare and poultry health, among other fields. Increasingly, those advancements arise out of collaborations that leverage veterinary science with expertise from fields like engineering, finance, sociology, energy policy and epidemiology.

As part of Penn Vet New Bolton Center’s campus, the Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security will serve as a nexus for these cross-disciplinary insights and projects, bringing together the people and resources to turn nascent ideas into tested on-the-ground solutions that can be translated and scaled to reach producers across Pennsylvania, the United States and beyond.

To push these ideas forward, the center encompasses five “clusters of excellence,” each focused on a distinct branch of the mission: animal welfare, regenerative agriculture, food security, climate mitigation and human health interfaces. Guided by expert faculty leads, the five overlapping domains will support research, training and outreach to ensure Penn Vet’s innovations reach farmers where they are. —Katherine Unger Baillie

Excerpted from “Meeting a Generational Challenge,” originally published in the Fall/Winter 2022 issue of Penn Vet’s Bellwether magazine. To read the full article, visit bit.ly/bwcsafs.

To learn more about Penn Vet’s new Center for Stewardship Agriculture and Food Security, visit vet.upenn.edu/csafs.

Radnor Hunt Races

The Race

The Radnor Hunt Races are a time-honored tradition in Chester County, Pennsylvania, dating back to 1930. As one of the oldest regional steeplechases, the event is an annual rite of spring held on the third Saturday in May, with professional jockeys and thoroughbred horses competing in five jump races for their chance at valuable purses. This exciting and fun-filled day also features the best in themed tailgate parties, hats and fashion, as well as the parade of foxhounds and antique carriages—always a crowd favorite.

With roots that go back over 250 years to Ireland and England, steeplechase has a rich history and tradition in the Mid-Atlantic region. The beautiful pastoral landscapes that make up this region mimic the ideal conditions of the sport’s origins abroad, while also highlighting and reflecting the area’s longstanding land conservation efforts. The races are held each year on the grounds of the Radnor Hunt. Founded in Radnor, Pennsylvania, in 1883, it’s the oldest continuously active fox hunt in the United States, recognized by the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America.

The Beneficiary

While the connection between open-space preservation and steeplechase racing has always been part of Radnor Hunt’s heritage, it wasn’t until it partnered with the Brandywine Conservancy began that the event became associated with “Racing for Open Space.” The two organizations joined forces over 40 years ago in a union spearheaded by the late Mrs. J. Maxwell “Betty” Moran and the conservancy’s late co-founder, George A. “Frolic” Weymouth. The Radnor Hunt Races have since raised over $5 million for the conservancy’s open space and clean water programs.

Many of the annual steeplechase events that take place in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware—including the Radnor Hunt Races—are run on lands permanently protected by the Brandywine Conservancy and its conservation partners. In Chester County alone, over 30% of the county is protected open space—totaling 147,000 acres of public parks, historic sites, agricultural and privately held lands. This legacy of protecting open space has allowed the sport of steeplechase racing to flourish in this region.

As the sole beneficiary of the Radnor Hunt Races, the nationally accredited Brandywine Conservancy is a leader in protecting water and preserving the breathtaking landscapes, rich history and active farmland in southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware. It works closely with private landowners who wish to see their lands protected forever, and it also provides innovative land use and environmental planning services to municipalities and other governmental agencies. Since 1967, the organization has protected nearly 70,000 acres of open space, including the Radnor Hunt racecourse itself and surrounding lands. It continues its work in the areas of water quality, land protection, outdoor recreation and historic preservation throughout the region.

races
The Laurels Preserve. Courtesy of Brandywine Conservancy.

Based in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, the conservancy is one of two programs that make up the Brandywine Conservancy & Museum of Art, which preserves and promotes the natural and cultural connections between the area’s beautiful landscape, historic sites and important artists. Housed in a 19th-century mill building overlooking the banks of the Brandywine Creek, the Brandywine Museum of Art features a renowned collection of historic and contemporary American works. The museum engages visitors of all ages through a robust array of special exhibitions and programs. Together, the Brandywine’s two programs unite the inspiring experiences of art and nature.

Call (610) 388-2700 or visit brandywine.org/conservancy.

Related: Learn the Lingo for All Things Steeplechase This Racing Season

Our Best of the Main Line Elimination Ballot is open through February 22!