By Nancy Johnson
After one of Chester County’s harshest winters in memory, a glorious spring day at the Brandywine Hills Point-to-Point races, Sunday, April 6, makes us realize why we live here.
The 72nd running of the races, which have the distinction of being the oldest point-to-point in the Delaware Valley, are set on the picturesque grounds of the Myrick Conservation Center encompassing 318-acres of rolling countryside between Unionville and West Chester.
While watching the beautiful horses tackle the challenging three-mile course of timber fences is the main focus of racing enthusiasts, the event includes much more. Children’s games, a reception courtesy of Radnor Hunt, a parade of foxhounds, and a raffle with incredible prizes announced throughout the afternoon are all an integral part of the Brandywine Hills Point-to-Point.
The first section was an exciting race to the finish and an absolute thrill for Kenneth Garcia, owner of the winner, Classy Rascal. Garcia traveled from his home in Cookstown, New Jersey to watch Rascal run.
“He’s a homebred and he just didn’t have the speed for the flat races,” he explained. “But he had so much heart and endurance that we thought we would give the timber racing a try. It’s really thanks to Lauren,” he explained, gesturing to Lauren Shock of Evolution Training Center.
“I broke him as a yearling,” Shock said, “And have kept in touch. Kenneth just loves this horse and didn’t want to quit on him. I thought Rascal might make a good steeplechase horse so I told him to send him to Billy [Meister]. He’s the best.”
“Billy has just done a great job with him,” Garcia agreed. “He loves him, so now I don’t get to take him home,” he added with a laugh.
Proceeds from the annual Brandywine Valley Point-to-Point races go to the Brandywine Valley Association (BVA) to help them fulfill their mission of promoting and preserving the natural resources of the Brandywine Valley.