The horses are coming

Have you ever wondered what the horses are doing to get ready for the Queen’s Cup? While you are buying tickets, thinking about how good your tailgate is going to be this year, and wondering how big your hat is going to be, the stars of the show are being put through their paces to be ready to perform on the last Saturday of April.


We know it’s a party out here but the serious business of steeplechase horse racing is one of the most important parts of the day. Up to 40 horses will compete at the Queen’s Cup for $150,000 in purse money, and the folks whose livelihoods depend on winning races take it very seriously.


The official season is about 2 weeks away and horses up and down the east coast are beginning to get the finishing touches put on. The thoroughbred horse, when racing, is one of the most fit and most athletic animals out there. Their day to day routine is one of early mornings and high calorie feeds bookending some very hard gym sessions.


Horses will get their breakfast around 5.30am at most farms. They will be given 45 minutes to an hour to settle, then exercise starts. Their rider will get the tack on and rain, hail, or snow, they will go out and train. Training will involve a nice long warm up before the high intensity resistance training like galloping multiple times up a hill and then jumping 10-12 fences in a process known as schooling. Afterwards the horses are walked for up to 20 minutes to cool off and then they get a bath, a dry off, and back into their stalls for some well-deserved lunch. For some, they might get to go out into the field and relax for the afternoon, and for others, they may spend some time on a walking machine.


These horses are finely tuned and made ready for the moment we all get to see them. Their muscles are drum-tight and they love what they do.


Don’t miss them!  Come out on April 28th for the greatest show on turf.


See you at the races.

With the Queen’s Cup going into its 23rd year, it has already lived a long life. In fact, since the Queen’s Cup first day out in 1995, the event has been around for some pretty historical moments.

Since 1995, the Queen’s Cup has seen 4 Presidents, a financial crisis, Pathfinder landing on Mars, the birth of the iPhone and the death of Steve Jobs. It has seen France win the soccer world cup and a triple crown winner in American Pharaoh.


During all this, the Queen’s Cup has been consistently an integral part of Mineral Springs, Union and Mecklenburg Counties and western North Carolina. Since 1995 nearly 250,000 have come through the gates of Brooklandwood and around $800,000 has been given to local charities.


You would be forgiven for thinking that for an event like this, with its consistency and sustainability, that there must be a big team of highly qualified staff whose sole focus is to run this amazing day in April. The truth and reality are much different. The skeleton staff here at the Queen’s Cup consists of 5 people. 2 of those are volunteers, 2 more are part time and only one member of staff is full time.


Admittedly, May, June and July can be reasonably quiet here but make no mistake, making sure that 13,000 people, 40 horses and 305 acres of land, do not take care of themselves.


Here’s hoping that our next 23 will be as good. See you all at the races.



Getting to know your Queen’s Cup

In this week’s blog, we are going to try and uncover some of the unknown stuff and people that make the #greatestshowonturf happen.

This Week, it is the turn of the event founders, Bill and Carrington Price. The race was first run in 1995 and through the hard work and vision of the Price family, it has made it all the way to its 23rd anniversary. Here are somethings you may not know.


Where are you from?

Carrington – Baltimore, MD

Bill – Brooklandville, Maryland in Baltimore County


How long have you been at the Queen’s Cup?

Carrington – Since it was only a dream and not yet a reality

Bill – From the start and before


How did you end up working at the Queen’s Cup?

Carrington – I wanted to make our dream become a reality

Bill – I wanted to create something great for the community and the region. It was a dream of ours


Were you always interested in steeplechase racing?

Carrington – I have been going to steeplechase races for longer than I can remember, as my parents took me when I was an infant.

Bill – Since I was a teenager


What is your favorite part of your job?

Carrington – Explaining the event to those that call in and helping each patron choose the best spot for them and their group.

Bill – Meeting new clients and sharing the story, watching the courageous thoroughbreds jump and run with their equally courageous jockeys


What is the most challenging part of your job?

Carrington – The details! There are so many of them and they all need to come together on the one day.

Bill – The minute details of producing the event


Tell us one funny thing that has happened to you in the course of your work.

Carrington – Almost every year there is story from race day about something a patron did. The one that takes the cake is when a patron got a DWI for stealing one of our golf carts and driving it to the gas station for more beer.

Bill – Gosh, so many. I’ll get back to you on that one


Is there one Queen’s Cup that sticks out more than any other?

Carrington – Our first race was in the fall of 1995 so they all run together. There are so many that stick out for different reasons. My top 3:

  • Fall of 1995- for the pride and success of our very first race, “The Taste or the Chase”
  • 1998 when Her Royal Highness Princess Anne & author Dick Francis attended our races.
  • 2000 when we held the 1st race at the current, permanent and beautiful racegrounds

Bill – The race meet back in 2009 when a horse, approaching the first fence near the lake, decided to take a hard left, blew through the wing, jumped the rail in a split second and ran through the infield into the heavily packed tailgate section in the infield. Frightening moment!


If you could tell people one thing about the Steeplechase that they don’t know, what would it be?

Carrington – Most steeplechase horses have raced at major tracks around the county and are given a 2nd career as jumpers when their options on the flat have run out. They are often turned out to pasture in the off-season and are loved and cared for like a family pet.

Bill – This is the hardest work and hardest sell to sponsors I have ever been involved in. Should be much easier to sell after 23 years but seems to get harder each year


Cats or dogs?

Carrington – DOGS

Bill – Dogs for sure!


Red or white?

Carrington – White

Bill – White is too…well vanilla


Dessert or Appetizer?

Carrington – Dessert

Bill – Dessert. Let’s start each meal with dessert for starters and ending


What is the most recent book you have read and did you enjoy it?

CarringtonThe Hundred Story Home by Kathy Izard- A great and true story about the author efforts to help the homeless in Charlotte

Bill – Currently reading John Adams by David McCullough


What is your favorite movie?

Carrington – Funny Farm

Bill – Gosh, so many… so many… The Hunt for Red October, Star Wars, The Patriot


If you could go one place on vacation, where would it be?

Carrington – Any tropical beach

Bill – Tour all of Europe


If you were stuck on a desert island and you could bring 3 things with you, what would they be?

Carrington – A book, a blanket, and a photo album of the people, places and events that have given me strength and hope

Bill – Water, a satellite radio and lots of lotion





Here at The Queen’s Cup around the beginning of November is probably as far away from our spring races as you can get. One could be forgiven for thinking that all is quiet at the region’s largest one spot tailgate.

It is, in fact, one of our busiest times. On the home front, we have just rebuilt a main supporting wall at the foot of Member’s Hill, which you will all see on race day. And needless to say, that has caused the grass around it to need some help. We are hoping you don’t notice that at all on race day. On from that, we have also replaced a line of trees along the bottom tier of the Lawn Boxes. This you will definitely notice but it is a sing of the future growth of what it is we are doing. We have now put in over 300 new bushes that we hope we be smiling down on the winners of the Queen’s Cup for many, many years.

Outside of Brooklandwood its been even busier. As you know, we pride ourselves on being a community organization and recently we invited the local and not so local community onto the racecourse for an afternoon of bluegrass and fancy cars. We had nearly 500 folks from near and far show up and to our delight, quite a lot of those people had never been before. To greet them when they got here we had 10 exotic cars managed by Foreign Cars Charlotte and a wonderful Bluegrass Band Called Time Sawyer. Honestly, you should check both of these out. You will not regret it. During our Fall Festival, we managed to give away some spots at the races and will be super excited to see all those race goers on April 28th next year.

But the fun didn’t stop there. Our biggest reason for being is our mission to raise money for local and regional charities. And as most of you know, The Alzheimer’s Association of Western NC has been our beneficiary for the last 4 years. Now that we are headed to our 5th year The Alzheimer’s Association, we want to support them more than ever and that lead us to The Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The Queen’s Cup had a team of around 10 walkers and to date has managed to raise just under $4,500 and you have until December 31st to donate to team Queen’s Cup and help us reach our goal of $6,000. Beyond that, the Charlotte chapter of the walk ranks 22nd in the country and is headed towards their goal of $600,000.00. An Amazing achievement.

It really is a wonderful time of year and although the excitement of spring hasn’t kicked in yet, we know this upcoming year will be our best ever. We can’t wait to see you all at the races.

Come “Celebrate Fall” at the home of The Queen’s Cup – All you need to know.

So, on Sunday, October 15th 2017, Brooklandwood, the home of The Queen’s Cup Steeplechase will be opening its doors to anyone and everyone that wants to come and have a look at the beautiful race grounds. We will have some

great entertainment for you in the form of local Bluegrass Band – Time Sawyer as well as some exotic, international cars on display too. It is a BYO event so it is up to you what you want to bring. We recommend bringing your own
food and drinks as well as something to sit on. None of this will be provided on the day. We will have some raffle items there and some souvenirs can be bought too. Everyone can get into the grounds through gate on Highway 75 and park just behind Members Hill and make the day your own. Gates will be open at 3pm and closing again at 6pm sharp.

  • When? Sunday, October 15th 2017
  • Where? Brooklandwood, the home of the Queen’s Cup, 6103 Waxhaw Highway
  • What time? 3pm to 6pm
  • What is provided? We will provide live bluegrass music, an exotic car show and bathrooms
  • What will I need? You will need your own food, drinks and something to sit on, chairs, blankets, what have you.
  • Is there an age limit? No, this is a family event and all are welcome
  • Does it cost anything? No, this is an absolutely FREE event so both admission and parking are free
  • What happens if it rains? We suggest you bring a jacket but the event will go ahead regardless
  • Can I buy Queen’s Cup tickets while I’m there? Yes, absolutely. We will have information and the ability to purchase any spaces that are left
  • Are the Panthers playing that day? No, as it happens the Panthers are playing on Thursday night, 3 days prior

Come out on out and check out the grounds and have a great family fun day. We look forward to seeing you. Need more info, email us at

Diamonds are made under tremendous pressure and great oak trees grow despite angry winds. It comes as a true statement and a lesson to be learned in life that sometimes character and courage are the most important qualities that anyone can possess. I know in the past that we have written about Michael Mitchell. The British born rider who was airlifted to hospital following a nasty fall at this year Queen’s Cup. And it is also true to say that we have become very fond of Michael during his recovery and progress. We cannot understate his class and quality as a person. It turns out that we could not have ever imagined his ability to dig deep and leave a significant injury far behind.

In an effort to not go over old ground we can leave the details of his injury behind but would ask you to understand that it was not nice. That being said, there was conversation at the time that Michael may be a long way off competing at the top table again. What we could not understand is Michael’s will to win and compete is pretty special.

On Wednesday July 26th, Michael took the mount back on his Carolina Cup hero, Show Court in the $75,000 Johnathon Kiser Novice Stake at the famous Saratoga Race Course. Interestingly enough, Show Court had not visited the winners circle since Michael won on him in late March. Well, obviously Mr. Mitchell was the missing ingredient. Show Court only went and won. What a dream come true. Well, at the risk of a serious pun, hold your horses. On Thursday July 27th, Michael was once again in action and this time it was the Grade 1, A.P. Smithwick Steeplechase. Again, at Saratoga. Sitting on a 28-1 shot, Michael and Swansea Mile obviously didn’t read the morning line. At the top of the stretch, Swansea Mile and Michael Mitchell took over the lead and did not give it up from there. This completed a somewhat incredible comeback to form.

It is a hats off to you, Michael Mitchell and keep up this amazing run.

See you at the races.