Foxfield Races - Charlottesville, Virginia

Few things are more beautiful than a sunny, Spring day in Charlottesville. And down off Garth Road on the last Saturday of April there’s a type of gaiety and cheer that can only come from 12oz cans and horse racing. The races are known for hefty ticket prices, one road in and hundreds of cars causing an annual traffic jam, and hundreds more barely-legal UVa students.

The Foxfield Races are a Charlottesville tradition where the county’s blue-bloods picnic lavishly on the outer rim while UVa students drink themselves into a hilarious (if not dangerous) stupor. On the outfield it’s a white-collar picnic; on the infield it’s the most savage frat party you’ve ever seen. Never mind the sundresses, bow ties, seersucker jackets and enough J.Crew to barely stomach … I think they mean to be ironic. (Or am I giving them too much credit?)

Is Foxfield an event worthy of the AFP name? Some might argue that it’s not totally in line with our mission. We’re not sure it had the kind of cultural relevance of some of our other events. But it was in our backyard, and if there’s one thing Foxfield had in common with plenty of our other events, it’s beer. So we grabbed our preppiest shirts, our cameras, a few cases for ourselves just to fit in, oh, and some of our best buds and joined the massive crowd.

Foxfield is no Kentucky Derby, and the stakes aren’t quite as high as the grass. This is after all a Steeplechase with a drinking problem. But this year there were some very sad moments. Two horses broke a leg on the final jump on two separate races and both had to be put down right there on the spot. I missed these moments and only heard about them the next day (the photo action was not on the racetrack) but I did see a nice pink-shirted young colt get put down when he tried to run away from the cops. Why does that seem like a feasible option when you’ve been drinking?

In the end it was a sunny beautiful day and the experience was humorous and spent with good friends. Enjoy the madness!