Steeplechase Racing in Charlottesville since 1977
Foxfield has been hosting nationally recognized steeplechase races in the heart of Virginia for over forty years, giving residents and visitors alike the opportunity to witness spectacular horse racing and enjoy the beauty of the countryside.
In 1977, Mariann de Tejada generously purchased the property for the Foxfield Racing Association and designed and built the race course.
Prior to 1977 the property was a local airport, as well as a well-known riding school under the guidance of Grover Vandevener. Mr. Vandevener was the huntsman for the Farmington Hunt Club which at one time adjoined the Foxfield property, making the land incredibly rich in equestrian heritage throughout the 20th century.
- Foxfield has been operating since 1977.
- The Foxfield Races are hosted bi-annually.
- The spring races often host over 20,000 attendees
The races were directed by Benjamin Dick with assistance from Patrick Butterfield until Ben’s death in 2016. At that time his brother, Thomas J. Dick, assumed oversight and directed the races until a new management and governance framework was created. While working to place the property in easement to limit its development, Mr. Dick also worked closely with Dr. Reynolds Cowles, who with Garth Road Preservation created Foxfield Racing LLC, a subsidiary of Garth Road Preservation LLC – both of which are not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organizations – to assume oversight of the races and the property in June of 2020. Dr. Cowles, a noted equine veterinarian with extensive experience in Steeplechase Racing, assembled a Board of civic-minded community members dedicated to ensuring that the Foxfield Races continue, with an emphasis on providing financially stable, fun, and safe community events.
In 2019 Mr Dick placed the racecourse and surrounding land under conservation easement with the Albemarle Conservation Easement Authority, ensuring the future of the Foxfield Races, as well as several other community events throughout the year on the 178 acre venue.
Opportunities for the Future
Moving forward, the Board of Foxfield is committed to exploring new ways to leverage the property, and the races, to benefit diverse members of our community.
The Mission of the Organization
- To foster the conservation of open space and our countryside.
- To foster and celebrate the traditions of Virginia steeplechase racing.
- To use these functions to support benevolence in our community.
To fulfill this mission and to launch Foxfield into its new era, the Board of Directors has prioritized the following strategic initiatives:
- The Race: Establish the Foxfield Races as one of the premier races in the National Steeplechase Association
- Safety: Create a race day that is safe, accessible and community oriented
- Infrastructure: Invest in property infrastructure improvements
- Sponsorships: Expand and improve sponsorship opportunities through the creation of a higher level experience
The Board is seeking one or more long-term partnerships that will generate financial support, visibility, and programmatic opportunities for non-profit organizations to more fully integrate Foxfield into the future of our community in a meaningful and authentic way. We are establishing a relationship with a social justice charity as well as a medical charity.
At the same time, these efforts can elevate the importance of maintaining Albemarle County’s commitment to open space preservation through experiential learning opportunities.