Photo Essay: Point-to-Point Steeplechase at Winterthur Museum and Gardens

Horse carriages driven by men wearing top hats; women wearing big floppy hats; antique cars; horses and hounds – it could be a set on Downton Abbey. But it’s the present day at Winterthur Museum and Gardens in Wilmington, Delaware.  It’s the first Sunday in May and it’s the annual Point-to-Point steeplechase fundraising event for the museum. Unlike the flat horse racing at the Kentucky Derby, which is also on the first Sunday of May, a steeplechase involves horse racing and jumping over barriers.

Fancy hats, a tailgating competition that brings out the linens, crystal and champagne, and a parade and exhibit of antique Rolls Royce and Bentley cars are all part of the pre-race entertainment.

Big hats are the style

If you forgot your hat, you could buy one at the on site Marketplace – his and hers.

Hats befitting a gentleman
Hats for any lady’s taste.

Tailgating in style with the beautiful antique cars.

The racing events were kicked off by a parade of horse and hounds and then antique horse carriages.

Could be a scene out of Downton /abbey – it’s the parade of River Hills Foxhounds
One of the many beautiful horse drawn carriages in the antique carriage parade

At 2 o’clock, the firsts of the four steeplechase races begin as the horses race around a skewed 3 1/4 mile figure eight track two times, giving spectators plenty of opportunity to cheer on their pick for a winner as they zoom past.

Horse racers taking one of the jumps
Intense competition by both horse and rider-winners get a significant sized purse.

Despite a cold and sometimes rainy day, a good time was had by all.

The Winterthur Point-to-Point race is the first of three annual steeplechase races in the area, all benefiting local organizations.  The second Sunday in May is the Willowdale steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and the third weekend in May sees the Radnor Hunt races in Radnor, PA.

Thanks for visiting.

Rose